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The Aquarium

Gloria and Toto

By Ioana AdrianaPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
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The Aquarium
Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen on Unsplash

Gloria and Toto are two green sea turtles living in captivity. Gloria is much older than Toto, but their age difference doesn't bother her. They love each other company. They spend the entire day sharing stories about the ocean, and the memories they share are all they have left.

The two turtles are enclosed in one of the biggest aquariums in the world, where they witness thousands of visitors coming and going every day.

Even if they seem very popular with the visitors, they don't enjoy the attention. At times, they observe the world coming to watch them. They don't understand how they can find joy and interest in seeing them suffering and imprisoned.

"I had the same dream again. We were swimming, me and you, in the middle of the big blue ocean. We dived deeper and then returned to the surface to feel the sun's rays warming our shells. The currents were guiding us back home. Will we ever go back home, Gloria?" said Toto.

"That, I cannot tell you for sure, my little friend, but if you eat your dinner, I promise to tell you a little story about our origins.

When you feel scared and down remember you are an intelligent creature made of stardust. Your very nature is to be free. Turtles, like us, have been exploring the ocean's depths for millions of years, evolving long before other animals. We are connected to the origins of the universe and the very planet’s core. We are one with the ocean and in need of the sea like humans are in need of air.
My advice to you, my dear, is to be proud of where you belong and never lose hope. We might be forced to suffer this, but you can use your imagination to break free whenever you wish.

The world is vast, and there is much to be explored. My dream for you is to break free and experience the magic of life at sea.

The Great Barrier Reef. The beach where we were born is a place one never forgets. The sand stretches as far as you can see. There, one can bask in the sun all day long, undisturbed. You can rest your tired flippers covered in the warm, soft sand. If I close my eyes, I can see myself swimming between coloured tropical fish, giant clams and corals, searching for sweet green seagrass—the clown fish. You have to meet them! The manta rays live around and might not look as friendly, but don't judge a book by its cover."

Toto and Gloria don't like the tank for many reasons; sometimes they can't see through, making them even more anxious. It's monotonous. The lights are disturbing. They both almost lost their smell, appetite and hunting instincts. At times, even their sleep.

Gloria has been in the aquarium for many years. She used to be quite the explorer; now, she can only dream about the world. At times she feels trapped in a circle, bumping into the sides of her tank. At times she hears the call of the ocean, calming her down.

When Toto arrived, Gloria fell immediately in love with her. She gathered all her strength to look after the young one and cheer her up. She hoped for her that one day, she would escape from the aquarium and explore the world again. She dreamed for Toto that she would go back to the sands where her life started.

When Gloria sadly, passes away because of the circumstances, things become unbearable for Toto. She was crying for her friend and feeling lost without her.

"I miss you dearly, Gloria," said Toto thinking to herself. "I miss playing hide and seek together. I miss your adventurous stories. I miss your company and our laughs together. I know you had a better dream for me, but I don't know if it will ever come true. I am not even sure if I would survive without you, but I promise I will keep believing in our dream, and I will not lose hope. "

Years go by, the aquarium grows in size, and more animals are brought to be kept in captivity. Because Toto‘s tank had to be used for other animals, they decided to give her care to an animal caretaker and scientist.

His name is John, and he came to be involved in several research programs to improve the understanding of sea turtles.

One day, John and Toto travelled to Queensland on the Great Barrier Reef. When he finds out they created a turtles-only sanctuary, he immediately thinks of Toto.

“I am sorry you have been stolen of your freedom, Petite”(the name John gave to Toto) whispered to her.

“When we lose sight of the higher aims of life, we humans make big mistakes.

Knowing better, I have the chance to do better for you now. I will set you free, where you belong, and I hope your life in captivity will become a distant memory for you. “

Gloria's wish for Toto became true. She finally returned to the crystal waters where she belonged and could start her journey through life, being one with the ocean once again. She became a mother and passed further all the love that once she received from her dear friend, Gloria.

Every time Toto looks up at the stars, she can catch a glimpse of Gloria.

Short Story
1

About the Creator

Ioana Adriana

Rediscovering the love for writing.

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