Well, no. I am not really kissing them. But petting them. Carefully, with one gentle fingertip.
They look on, silent, occasionally perched on my arm where they landed, jumping from the wake of my more vigorous watering and weeding.
They don’t seem to mind the petting, but I try never to subject them to my affections. Rather, I ask them. Not in words so much, but approach.
OK, sometimes I speak. Who knows what they hear. But they don’t flee, nor do they freeze. I seem no different than the fern and the moss, for all I can tell of their response.
Sometimes they turn their heads to me, and I do see them move their eyes. Surely they know I am a creature larger and hungrier than they. But it seems to matter not. They accept my attentions with no alarm.
They are tree frogs, tiny and charming. They bring the garden to life and I’m thankful for their little appetites, because I can always use less mosquitoes. And wherever I live I consider it a good sign when they appear. They appreciate lush plant life, water, hiding places; I feel I have done something right if they move in with their chirping voices.
One year I had a one-eyed frog here. I saw him almost every day. He wasn’t missing an eye, but born with one large one. I gave him a name, of course. I imagined him a special frog, and saw him all season. Perhaps he was really a prince. He certainly acted princely; he sat on my hand quite calmly, and looked regal.
I considered kissing him. Just because. Could it hurt? That particular fairytale came from somewhere, after all….and who really knew? I mean, how many can say they have tested that magic?
Some time prior to meeting my princely frog, my mother gave me a silver ring. A wee silver frog, long legs stretched to gird my finger. Adorable. Everybody knows I like tree frogs. Yet I asked her, what had possessed her to buy this ring?
“Well, you’ve had to kiss a lot of frogs.” She answered.
This is true. Yet I had not given those kisses to the small green and brown ones. And they weren’t the frogs she’d meant either.
But I’d stopped kissing frogs of human ilk.
My princely frog contemplated me from the palm of my hand. Maybe I had been going about things all wrong. His look seemed so sure, so knowing and calm.
I admit, I considered him. God knows I’d never found a prince through conventional means. Nor any other means. So, what? I might strike out again?
In the end, I set him back down in the ferns.
I’d see him, gazing at me serenely and steadily. There in the moss, then on the porch railing while I sat and smoked. He seemed always to say the same words.
“wait wait. wait wait.”
I didn’t know what to wait for, yet wait I did. And finally he appeared no more.
I finally found my Prince. But he was never a frog. In fact, there is nothing remotely frog-like about him. And I know his parents.
But I did have to wait.
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