I am so sorry, Mr. Frog.
It hasn’t been the easiest of days. A root canal yesterday has left my face bruised and swollen, my gums raw. Eating is hard, and anyone who knows me knows the meaning of the recently coined term “Hangry.” Nonetheless, I bumbled around this morning, finally finding enough to eat so I could leave and do a few errands.
It’s ungodly hot this week, and my husband needed the car with the good mileage and working air conditioning so he could go to work out of town. No problem; our “spare” is a rough old pick-up truck and I don’t mind driving it at all. That is, when it doesn’t have a flat tire.
By flat, I mean really and truly flat. Zero air pressure. Flat. It was already into afternoon and I was hoping the auto club would show up in time for me to get to the Secretary of State before I earned late fees, and of course I’d waited too long for a good Plan B. The auto club guy showed up, he was nice and he was efficient. I was on the road by 3:00.
Not wanting to push my luck, I went first to the Secretary of State. This is a small town, and even so I was 6th in line when they made the announcement: Printer problems. Each document was taking about 15 minutes to print. One license plate, 15 minutes. A couple plates and a driver’s license renewal, you could be here for an hour. And yes, we will close at 5:00, no matter how many people have waited how long.
I decided to wait it out. First, my stuff all expires tomorrow, and I’m scheduled to work. Second, it was air conditioned and in spite of everything, the staff and other customers were pretty jovial. It was a good choice, as several of the customers with numbers before mine had decided not to wait. It was like taking cuts.
Business taken care of, I was on my way. Next stop was the big box store where my guys got me a couple of University of Michigan shirts. They were wrong sizes, but hey, I still liked them. I went back to try to do a little better in getting ones that fit.
Well, once I got there I saw why the sizes they picked weren’t spot-on. It was a clearance thing, and the main sizes had been picked over. One shirt I decided to keep, and wear it a little baggy. The other I traded in for a different style that fit better.
Then I buzzed around the store collecting some fresh fruit (and some more soft foods!) I got through produce and down the first aisle or two of the frozen foods. Suddenly, like flipping a switch, I was done. “Let me outta here don’t get in my way DONE.” I really wanted the things I already had in my cart, so I endured the checkout, but I absolutely could not have cared less about the other two-thirds of what grocery had to offer. Nope. Done.
So, I went out to the truck and loaded my stuff inside. Then I walked around to the driver’s door and climbed in. Just as I was about to slam the door, I saw the frog. He was a little bit of a thing, about as big as my thumb. One of my favorite kinds among the many around the house, he was a silvery green little guy with smooth, iridescent skin.
Of course, I feared hurting him if I shut the door, so I set about to catch him – hopefully to take him home to the woods he came from, or at the very least get him to some grass instead of the vast wasteland of asphalt where he was now.
He wasn’t having any of it. I nearly caught him a couple of times, then he slipped away and went straight under the car in the next space. He was desperate to escape the only thing (me) that could save his life. At that point, there was no way I could help him.
I know some of you are out there shaking your heads and saying, “Get over it, Judy! It’s just a FROG!” But I want to believe I’m smarter than a frog, more resourceful than a frog, and I just really wanted something to turn out happy instead of sad on this crazy roller-coaster kind of day.
Living in the woods makes a person feel protective if not proprietary about all the woodland creatures. “My deer.” And yes, “my frogs.” Now certainly, the frog I found at the store had come along for the ride in some little nook or cranny of the truck. Who knows how long he’d been hiding out in one of the rain channels or air vents? Maybe being parked in the sun inspired him to move to a new place, but in any case he was one of my frogs, and right after finding him, I couldn’t save his life. I can’t help it – I feel bad. I don’t feel responsible. His instinct to run from me was stronger, and undoubtedly more practiced, than my instinct and resources to rescue him.
His chances of survival now are just the smallest fraction above zero. If he manages to avoid tires and tromping feet until sundown when it’s cooler and the store is less busy, he might have a chance to make it to a grassy area and make a new life. I like frogs, and I’m just going to hope for that.
(c) 2019, J.L. Cools
One thought on “A day…. a life….”
Judy, Judy, Judy…I really hoped for a different outcome for the frog. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I sympathized with the struggles you endured, truly, but you have better survivor skills than sweet Mr. Frog, so I can’t help but feel such angst knowing he’s become asphalt art. In the future would it be possible to provide multiple endings, allowing the reader to choose which they want to read?
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