Gerry by Lea D.
Hey, my name is Gerry. I’m 143 years old, I’ve been around since Donald Trump became president. After that event, my parents told me, everything changed very suddenly. They told me the world was a bad place to live even without Trump as president, but after he won the election, they said, it became even worse. But first things first…
I apologize for not introducing myself properly. One could think I’m a liar: “No one gets older than 70 nowadays, idiot!” but that’s what you always do, isn’t it, humans? Judging before thinking? Apparently, I’m a turtle living in the ruins of Mexico. Why was it destroyed? When Trump figured out that building a wall was way too expensive, he decided to just bomb the whole state. Imagine that: The whole state. Even though almost everyone died after this terrible act of human foolishness, I decided to stay. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t want to stay. I’m just too old to leave this stupid old state called Mexico. Actually, I’m not even sure if leaving the state would make any difference.
Because it wasn’t Trump that killed my whole family, but humanity in general.
Why, humans, do you have to produce as much garbage as you do? When I was only five years old and didn’t have as much experience in life as I have today, I ate a small piece of plastic. It didn’t kill me but it made me feel sick for almost two years. Eating the plastic happened shortly after my parents were taken away from me to “be sold”. Back then, I didn’t understand: why would you sell someone? Some years later, Carter, another turtle, told me that humans used us as pets. When I asked him what that meant, he answered: “They want to look at us, feed us, make us their property.” All of the sudden I understood.
I decided to trust Carter, he was there for me when everyone else was already gone. In the seventh year of Trump’s presidency, the bombing started. Carter and I decided to use the ocean as our safe haven. For almost six months, we didn’t dare to leave the cold blue water, knowing that we’d die if we did. When we finally returned to the beach that was once our home, we didn’t trust our own eyes: Everything looked so empty. There were no houses left, no lighthouse that once enabled a great view for those who used it. Nothing but garbage and ruined bombs with “Climate change doesn’t exist” written on them. The older Carter was, the sicker he became. Not physically but mentally. He began eating garbage on purpose, but every time I tried to stop him from swallowing parts of a plastic bottle or a plastic bag, he told me how hungry he was. And then one time I woke up in the middle of the night to see my friend die. And who is to blame for that terrible mess? Right. It’s you.
Fifty years I just lived on my own, eating small fish and seaweed. At least I tried to find something to eat. It was harder than it used to be: pollution in the oceans became worse every year so that thousands of fish died every day. After fifty years of pure loneliness I met Luisa who was one of the smartest turtles I could have imagined. Secretly I called her my savior because with her my life made much more sense, but I never told her. At that time we just had too many problems to really care for each other, but I never denied that she was the love of my life. It was then when Taylor Johnson became president. A republican. He didn’t change anything. The continuing pollution of our oceans finally killed every single fish that we could’ve eaten so that there were only two options: Eating the garbage or the seaweed. We both ate seaweed.
30 years after we met, we had a sweet little family with a five- year-old child called Alex. One night, as both Luisa and I slept, Alex ate a piece of plastic, probably thinking it was seaweed. We awoke because of his heavy breathing and saw him dying right in front of our eyes. Tears rolled down my face. The garbage killed my child as well as my best friend.
Two years ago, Luisa died of age. I never knew how old she really was, because “it is inappropriate to ask a woman her age”, but I didn’t even care. All I cared about was her being fine in another world. I just hoped for her to be happy wherever she was and honestly, I couldn’t think of a place more terrible than earth.
Right now I’m looking at the ruins of our world, a world that I don’t want to live in anymore.
In front of me is a huge piece of plastic.
And I suddenly feel very hungry.