I told you from the beginning, that things were going to have to change. But maybe you weren’t listening.

Do you even remember how it started? It didn’t happen all at once, nothing does. These feelings and words and thoughts had been accumulating for a long time. At first, I felt a little bit reptilian, but just in a muggy sort of way. Remember that twenty-four hours I couldn’t get out of the bath. Remember that time you had to drag me from the pet store, how I became mesmerized with the dry aquariums with its snakes and lizards, and even more obsessed by the water tanks with the tiny webbed zips darting among the angel fish.

It was about then that I began to get confused. The things people said and did stopped making sense. I couldn’t remember day-to-day details, remember who did what, who said what. At times, even, I would go into a tirade about someone and then later realize I was talking to that very person. Didn’t you wonder a little bit, when my friends started dropping like flies?

At night, I couldn’t get warm, even with you flushed and excited next to me.

That bothered you. You said, “Shouldn’t you go to a doctor? Seriously this is freaky.”

In the spring, when you stopped coming over as much, I wasn’t lonely. I went out at night, explore dthe chewed and spit out gum and shit on the Chinatown Streets. I was drawn to the deliciously stinky bags bursting with fish guts and old noodles. The dead piles of lucky bamboo. The bonsai shriveled in their flat gardens. I didn’t mind the dirty street’s tang. I only focused on the delectable buzz buzz.

When you did show up, you said, “Seriously, the flies are out of control.” You said, “Maybe next time we can stay at my place?”

And then you’d toss me a strange look. Honestly. I thought you eyeballed all your girlfriends like that. (And yes I know there were others.) But you didn’t, did you? You knew I was different.

I told you from the beginning, that things were going to have to change. But I didn’t realize that change was going to have to come from me.

When I got out of the shower that morning, naked and dripping, I felt an absolute desolation. I knew I could no longer go on, not the way I was. I stood before the full length mirror in the hallway dropped my towel and then suddenly as if it were the most natural thing in the world my knees buckled and there I was sitting, or rather bouncing, my genitals fully exposed, my largish breasts sagging to my knees (that horrible fear finally over and done with, thank god). Crouched in that fashion in front of the mirror I saw who or rather what I really was. A frog.

Once it happened, it just felt so right, so comfortable. And I felt centered and calm.

I no longer blame you for leaving. I no longer blame your for not really getting me. (After all, I never really got who I was either.) Now that I am who I am, I can’t imagine wanting anything else.

I wish you could see me now, my skin, bottle green, damp and glossy. In the moonlight, I shine like burnished malachite, glittering like fishing lures that disappear into black darkness and deep-throated groans. (That part reminds me of you: when you entered me you knew nothing but your own throaty pleasure—did you really think that I, that all the others, that we liked it that way?)

Right now, I hear a cement truck rumbling, making it’s way toward the Brooklyn Bridge. On the other side of the East river, there’s a place of warm wet vegetation I can blend into. But before I can forge that river, I need to wait for the webs between my fingers and toes to develop. I don’t expect you to call me while I’m waiting. I don’t expect anyone to call. I’ll stay in my stink of my apartment and trap flies with my long, sticky tongue. I’ll see the truth with my new, bulging, and better eyes. I’ll practice the art of camouflage

But, really, don’t worry about me. I will be fine. I can adapt.


Lisa Burdige writes fiction, poetry and short plays. Some of her other slightly odd stories can be found online at InterBirth Books and Exquisite Corpse. Her work is influenced and inspired by the much-loved creatures in her family including Turtellini and Myrtle, two Chinatown-born turtles.