I write often enough about my Matilda, my breathing barking teddy bear with the purple tongue who woos me anew on a daily basis. But, as my friend Mike insistently points out in his comments on Pigtails Flying, the tortoise never gets her due. Poor Tolstoy, burrowed away in her tank of wood chips. The highlight of her day is when we drop seven string beans into her food dish every morning; no wonder she glares at me on Saturday and Sunday mornings when I’m up for my run but no food has yet appeared.
Months ago, maybe even a year ago, Mike called me at work to quickly catch up on the big things. I started. How’s the girlfriend? How’s the writing? Short, intense answers followed. His turn, “How’s Husband, Matilda? Running?” I offered my sentences, jam-packed with information and emotion. Then, finally in his singsong way,”How’s Tolstoy?” Disarming, such a question. I replied, You know, [pause, pause] Tolstoy’s doing really well. We both completely cracked up at the very notion of a reptile being anything other than just what it was, but also that the tortoise the most stable among us.
Without further ado, Tolstoy. And also, photograhic evidence of Matilda’s leery ambivalence towards her armored step-sister.