Nothing but a dull pebble

It’s cold these days and it’s windy. I guess it’s fine if it’s cold but the wind is the worst. Whenever it’s really cold we spend our days huddled together to keep warm. I hate it when we huddle together, I like warmth but some of our guys are weird. Every time the Chief calls for a cold huddle Jasper comes running over to huddle beside me. He knows that Johnny and I are serious, I guess he must really like me. Sometimes Bob joins him and he smells. I dunno if he doesn’t swim or what but it smells like he’s been on land for an eternity.

This morning all the guys went diving for fish. In our penguin community we take turns catching lunch. So Johnny is away catching some silver fish to eat. I want to go talk to Sandy but she’s been annoying lately. All she wants to talk about is her stupid pebble, it’s not even that big. Ever since Steve gave her that rocks she’s been a different person. I guess she’s right to be happy. It’s a big deal in penguin culture this pebble giving. It means that the guy promises he’s choosen one peguin that will be with him until they both die. Honestly I’m just jealous that Johnny hasn’t given me a pebble. I hope he does ! Maybe he’s thinking of someone else. I can see Sandy from here touching the pebble with her flippers and then her feet. I’ve even seen her sit on it like it’s an egg or a baby!
Instead I go to the ice cliff and wait for Johnny and the guys to come back. I can see them jumping out of the water onto the ice, they are all giddy and happy. Looks like all the guys are running around and messing with Johnny. I wonder what he did today, hes always trying to do something out there. Swim up close to a dolphin or a whale or shake flippers with a two legged land being on their big wooden floaters. Sometimes its the fish he goes for, I prefer to eat fish but not ones that are my size. They are coming up the ramp and I am sure we will know soon what’s up.
The guys seem crazy today, more than usually. They are almost at the top, I should probably walk over to meet them. The rest of the girls have also heard the flapping and noise and they are walking over as well. We are all intrigued by what is happening. I can see John clearly now. He has always looked very sharp after a day out diving. His black and white marks are sharp, brightly contrasting against each other. Around his neck there is a small black mark shaped like two pebbles adjoined. The guys are all jumping around him, wait it looks like he has something in his beak. A fish? No, why would he do that I just ate a few hours ago. Wait, could it really be? Johnny is right there in front of me, he lowers his beak and reveals a small dull pebble. He leaves it right in front of me and looks up at me. I love it! Its the prettiest and biggest pebble I have ever seen. Sandy calls over to me with her flappers flapping “Welcome to the club, you’re now engaged!”

(This lovely collaboration was made possible with illustrations by the talented Leila Charafeddine. For more of her work check her out on Instagram and Tumblr @leilach2491

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