My best friend used to be Peso, the medic penguin from Octonauts. On quiet nights, we would stay up together under a makeshift canopy, our words hushed and reserved just for us. Though he regaled me with tales of his exhilarating underwater odysseys, I often had nothing to share. Enthralled yet envious, I wanted nothing more than to rise from the murky waves and lead a riveting life of my own.
Veiled by the gentle moonlight, we would contemplate friendship and the teleological differences between penguins and humans until I succumbed to sleep. In dreams, I liberated myself, taking on wings and soaring over the sprawling expanse of New York City. Earthly matters were swept away in my wake as my bedroom window receded into rows of brownhouses.
Sometime between my first menstrual cycle and my last growth spurt, though, I was cut off, told that there was more to a childhood than silly shows of talking animals. Peso ceased his nocturnal visits. I no longer awoke from winged dreams that prickled sweat out of skin, leaving behind memories of a more thrilling life. The bubbling hues of underwater cartoons faded in my mind. I forgot how to fly.
Since then, though, I rediscovered what it meant to live a life on the ground. I learned how to ride the bike, play Double Dutch, and make Rainbow Loom bracelets. Looking back, I think the loss was inevitable. He was my closest confidant, but it was a pretty one-sided relationship.
Farewell, Peso. Your animated spirit will endure in crayon drawings of penguins surfing the Hudson and gliding between skyscrapers. The faded lines and smeared details betray a bygone childhood, but the pigments are permanent.