The lizard child is tapping on his sometimes prison, usually room; toenails tapping out a mantra against walls he doesn’t understand. For a creature that supposedly should have spent its life running across the arid plains, he sure trips a lot.
The wedge of a head whips up to look at me, perched on my dish-shaped chair. A single eye blinks lazily as he assesses what I’m doing–reading–and why. Why makes no sense to him, but as he places a single paw upon the glass and demands to be let out.
I pull him out—he runs down my arm, across my sweatpants, and perches on the chair I use as a footrest (my real ottoman is still home with my mother) and swivels his neck at an angle that would break mine, and gives me the one-eyed stare of determining.
That’s just how he communicates—pacing back and forth a half dozen times before he takes a flying leap to my leg again, shimmying back to his vivarium and trying his best to phase through the glass separating him from his favorite basking spot. In a moment of weakness I check my phone and he tumbles from my leg to the floor.
Lizards are built remarkably like felines, so he’s okay, but my gasp makes him tilt his head up and give me that one-eyed stare again.
Tile floors make him nervous, as he can’t run fast on them, but I’m tickled that he’s finally exploring the room—he’s been suspicious of it for far too long. My space heater starts up for the twenty-second time and spooks him, jolting him forward a few feet.
He’ll get cold down there on the floor, so I tempt him with a wriggler to get his attention, and scoop him back up. Back in the viv he goes, still staring at me.
“It’s okay, cute. It’s okay.” He wuffs and puffs at me, before tucking his tail over his nose and rotating about in his sand box, keeping one eye on me in case of another wriggler.
Flipping his tail once at the intruder in the glass, he snugs down to watch me work.
by Ariel Crego