The Pelican & the Otter.


There once was an otter who was like many other otters in many ways. He lived in the waters that ran by ocean and was dark brown from his furry head to tiny toes. He had sharp little teeth that were like white tooth-picks. He even had one long, crooked jagged tooth that hung down over his bottom lip even when his mouth was closed. But this otter had something that no other otter possessed: he was friends with a pelican.

Each morning the otter would swim the waters towards the sea and climb out where the banks became salty. As he trundled through the grass and over the sand of the dunes he would meet the pelican and discuss the matters of the day.

The otter would tell about the other otters and the pelican would respond with flapping wings. The pelican, standing proud and tall above the otter would tell tales of the sea, stories of the waves. And as she looked out over the ocean the otter would look up at her; awestruck and impressed, often his little otter mouth would hang open as he too would hang on every word the pelican spoke, jagged tooth and all.

The pelican would bring far away fish for the otter and the otter would keep the pelican company while they ate. They discussed many things. Some of which they would agree on, some they would not. Some times the otter told stories the pelican found silly and sometimes the otter had to nod at random as he struggled to understand the words that fell from the pelican’s beak. Sometimes they would argue and sometimes they would laugh. But sometimes they just stood on the beach and said nothing but the breeze that danced between them.

As night would fall on the horizon the pelican would turn to the otter and say:

“I suppose it’s time for night.”

And in a pause of secrecy the otter would always reply the same way:

“I s’pose it is.”

And with that the mighty white wings, with tips of painted black, would carry the pelican out over the waves. The otter would watch her until she grew small in the distance. But before the otter would turn around and run down the dune and climb back into the waters against the current and towards the other otters he would think the same thoughts every night. He would think of the things he really wanted to tell the pelican. Things like secrets he would tell no one but himself, ideas and thoughts he thought were only his own. But most of all, he wanted to tell the pelican how important she was to him; that she was his best friend. He decided that tomorrow night, just before the day was done, he would tell the pelican these things.

But of course he never did. And the days passed as they have a way of doing and the seasons rolled in and out to sea as they always have and still the otter had never said the things he wished to say.

“I suppose it’s time for night.”

Said the pelican as she always did.

“I s’pose it is.”

However, one night as the otter watched the pelican fly away he noticed the dark clouds on the pink horizon. They looked like storm clouds. They were so dark in places that they made the otter cold beneath his fur and made him frightened of the wind that ran along his back.

When the otter climbed the dune the next morning he did so in driving rain. He looked out and saw the ocean rolling violently from side to side and the pelican was no where to be seen. The otter sank down in the grassy sand and waited. He waited in the rain and he waited in the wind. He even waited in the dark for as long as he could. But each morning the otter would run to the dune and each morning he would not find the pelican. Oh how his little heart ached! He thought of each moment between them and felt anger at the waisted seconds he spent in silence. He wished only for one more evening on the dune with the pelican, oh the things he would tell her, oh the thoughts that he longed to speak aloud. If only he had the chance once more. He would climb the dune fresh each morning and wish every day for the time he once had.

One day, as he lay in sadness with his chin on the sand he saw a shape in the distance, gliding through the air. It wobbled and it shook as it flew but the otter knew the bend of the wings better than anything else. It was the pelican flying home.

She explained that she had been caught in the storm and injured in the wind. For days she crouched in the curve of a cave until she was well enough to fly. The otter ran around her and jarred his little jaw with stories and tales and the two talked about the storm until the sun was falling below the horizon. For the last minutes of light they stood in silence, both looking out at the sea. The otter thought how lucky he was to have her back, he thought of all the things he wanted to say. And as the light turned from blue to black the pelican said to the otter:

“I suppose it’s time for night.”

And in a pause of heartbreak the otter looked straight ahead and simply said.

“I s’pose it is.”

And watched her fly away.


Words sound better today than they will ever sound tomorrow; the storm is always in the distance.


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