I’m not sure how it works at other retreat centers, but at the one my family calls home, all marriages are arranged by first name. My first name being Leopold (Please don’t call me Leo – thank you in advance), I was destined to wed a Leslie, a Lori, or a Larry. As fate would have it, I fell in love with an Adrienne and left a distraught Lakshmi at the altar. Rumor has it Lakshmi made a mean curry, but I’ll never know. Adrienne and I have been on the run ever since.
My family still lives up by the great flag castle. When Phyllis was still alive, she’d regale us with scary stories of Native American slavery, dragons, and witchcraft. That was before the huge flag was installed which we can see from our house. I sometimes make the long trek from my new home near the garden to make sure everyone is still ok. It takes a few treacherous days. The biggest threat comes from the four-legged grey monster. My brothers used to dare me to see how far away from our house I would stray before the monster would come racing towards us. The trek home is very exposed with not many places to hide. I often daydream during the trip (my whole family is prone to it), but I’m extra careful to stay hidden when I hear the monster coming.
Adrienne keeps an eye on our stash of summer veggies while I’m gone. We’re all turning into zucchinis and cucumbers this time of year. The flies, spiders, and strawberries are of course saved for special occasions. And, this was a big one. When I returned from spying on my family up by the great flag castle, careful to avoid the grey monster (who, strangely, always smelled like sausage), Adrienne informed me, “Leopold, it’s time you met my parents.”
I almost dropped my tail right there. Us lizards can drop our tails in the unfortunate event a monster gets their teeth in our backsides. It’s pretty painful, but not nearly as bad as the alternative. It only takes a few moons for them to grow back. Our pants never really fit the same again, however.
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Over the next week we continued through the tall forests, past the bee clan, the ant colonies, and to the sacred snake outpost. There we’d secure the necessary paperwork and special snake stamp to make the final border crossing. In exchange for this, we offered up 12 padron peppers, one for each of the sacred snake apostles. We’re small lizards, but we managed to portage them ok.
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Adrienne was getting more and more excited when we approached the second great ocean. It was nearly impossible to keep up as the wind raced through her scales. We passed the wild rosemary labyrinth unscathed, hurdled ourselves over the quartz quarry, until we stood before the house she grew up in. It overlooked the vast ocean with its tall, green grassy borders. There were caverns big enough to encourage our untimely demise, which were actually left by the other tall two-legged types. One in particular would dive into the vast ocean just before sunset each day, which sent Adrienne’s parents hiding under the covers.
They seemed to like me ok. My tail has almost entirely grown back from a run-in with a flying monster guarding the compost a few weeks prior. Other than that small setback, they could tell I loved their daughter. Relieved, as you might imagine me to be, we all settled in for a nice gluten-free dinner. With our mission accomplished, tomorrow would begin our long trek home.