First Death

I didn’t know about cold-blooded bodies until the thing happened with Theodore’s lizard. Theodore’s science teacher needed someone to keep it over summer. Theodore took it and kept the terrarium with him, wherever he was staying. He brought it to Ganno’s, with its head shaped like a cone and its bulgy eyes all sleepy with eyelids half-down, like window shades. The lizard was green and clawed and lived in a glass terrarium with a mirror along one side. The lizard ate dead crickets. Theodore had to go back to Aunt Chloe and Uncle George’s before it got dark. He said he’d come back for the lizard. “Make sure it has water,” he said.

In the morning it was curled tight, scrunched between the glass and the mirror, where it went after the sun went down, trying to keep warm. Its eyes were squinched and its tail was coiled hard like a seahorse. I never killed anything before. I killed Theodore’s lizard because I put it outside on the back porch in the cold.

Thedore never told me its name.

Write about your first encounter with death.

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