A sky of turquoise was sweetened with cotton candy clouds and it swirled above me like sugar spun in a heated metal wheel at a carnival.
Down by the pond, just beyond my grandfather’s forgotten barn, I reached to my feet and picked up a turtle. I looked for carvings on the bottom shell. The hard, moist, yellowed slug was blank. I made sure by wiping dead pieces of grass and weeds from the turtle’s belly on the rear of my jeans. There were no initials.
The turtle peeked out at me even though I was holding him upside down. I laughed loudly, knowing I got to him before my brother or my father claimed the shell with their initials. I pulled out my pocket knife, placed my thumbnail carefully into the groove of the folding blade and locked the carving implement into place. There was no pain. It was only a shell. I wrote
along the belly of the beast and showed my creation to the heavens.
A jet flew above slowly, just like a turtle. The tail of smoke that followed the tiny craft was the same colour as the confectionery clouds. The plane resembled a ball point pen dangling in the heavens of my childhood imagination.
I took it as a sign and threw the turtle across the still water, blackened with dead leaves, skipping my mark like dad taught me with flattened slate stones gathered from the banks of the pond.