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Goodbye, Lonesome George

那天晚上我在薩拉熱窩,悶熱的屋子讓我心煩,耳邊是蒼蠅亂飛嗡嗡作響。然後我在綠色和平的面書上看到Lonesome George去世的消息。牠曾是世上碩果僅存的平塔島象龜。第二天清晨,我到達斯洛文尼亞美麗小巧的首都尼布爾雅娜。我獨自走過一處噴水池,坐在石階上,給我無緣結識的朋友寫了一封告別信。我分不清我臉上的是淚還是噴水池濺出來的水。

dear lonesome george,
let me just call you george in my letter, as you dont have to be reminded of just how lonely you had been in your entire tortoise life, now that you are in heaven, or something of its kind. there should be a good array of pinta giant tortoises, dead as you are, throwing you a welcoming party up there or down there.
we have never met. nor will we. i simply came across your obituary on the greenpeace page two days ago, and immediately googled you. so i figured you died at age 100, impressive longevity had you been a human, but for a tortoise you died in your prime. do you believe in cosmo? that in this universe there actually ARE links between everything? well, i didn't. but i broke down reading your obituary. your demise whacked me, clean and hard. george, had you lived longer and had i the chance to meet you on your island, we would have been friends. that would make you the only friend in the real sense i have on earth, the only one who could make impossible possible (oxymoron used). but you are a mortal, so am i, and you are gone before our dots can eventually be linked up. our odds had been bad anyway. and today, as i was strolling in the streets of ljubljana, the morning breeze brought you to my mind. and i burst into tears, almost making a scene of myself. i have never known you in person (in tortoise-person), but i do miss you. i do.
and i know. you are a tortoise, or a pinta giant tortoise or whatever name they give to jurassic-looking, gigantic and slow-moving shelled reptile like you (no offence)-even if we had met, and i told you the fears that are made of me, i would not go so far as to expect you to nod agreeably. i am not undermining the intelligence of your specie, no, i have never been a humancentric person. it is just, you know, we are born different. you are lonesome because you were on the verge of extinction (i heard you were quite a womanizer when you had female companions, but apparently your sperms weren't so impressive). i was lonesome by choice (although i would rather say i am a subspecie) as human being is of abundance, if not way too much. it matters naught anyway as we ended up just the same - lonesome. there is something about human society that you may not have observed on your island. that from the very beginning of personhood, we are flooded by tonnes and tonnes of life lectures. once you get past childhood, all you can hear are 'you should', 'it's time for you to'...can you little tortoise brain imagine how dreadful it is to have people 'should-ing' all over you. oh i know you can. your subspecie has just reached extinction thanks to people who love to drink your blood.
you are one hell of a tortoise, really. you put up this fight for your entire life. you died in your prime for heart failure, and i know i shouldn't say it is not a good thing. one happy day alive is better than ten bad days alive. i do believe in incarnation, and if in your next life you get to choose what you want to be, i would say, be a cat, or a dog, even if a stray one, sniffing up garbage bins all the time. at least in this way you get to have buddies. or a bird, or a horse, so you know what freedom means, and in our next life, if we finally get to really know each other, we have something in common to break the ice with. if we are birds, we fly together; if we are horses, we storm the forests together. if we are human beings, let us just be really, really good friends.
now, as you see the face of god (or the like), i would say it has been not so nice not knowing you, but i will carry on this lonesome road for the both of us.
i will try not to cry again. godspeed, george.


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