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Design by Stephanie Peters

November 15, 2015.

I met you at the corner of my bedroom and the front door.

We found you alone in a parking lot without a drop of water in sight. Your family had left you, and so we took you home. Wrapped in a dark blue towel, you were small, fuzzy and brown, and I really didn’t know what you were. I never could’ve guessed what you were going to be.

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You and my mother were the same – your family had left you. Her son had just left for the service and she was heartbroken. When her first child finally left the nest, she found herself in a depression that she couldn’t fight her way out of. In a very real sense, you saved her that day. You filled the hole in her heart and began to warm mine.

I remember showing you how to fly. We’d run across the house – crouched down, knees bent – flapping our arms in a pathetic attempt to recreate a bird. Somehow, though, you knew. Eventually, you began to run alongside us, flapping the tiny little stubs that didn’t have feathers.

You learned to trust us.

I remember the first time we played peek-a-boo. I held my hands in front of my face and you got really quiet. You tried to cheat and peek around my hands, but when I opened them and revealed my face, you laughed. You thought it was so funny that I kept disappearing and coming back to you.

I will always come back to you.

I remember the time you flew away. We were late on trimming your feathers, but we decided to play outside anyway. You needed the sun. Something ended up scaring you and you flew over the fence of the backyard.

We went out into the neighborhood, but we never found you. When we returned home, you were just standing on the neighbor’s roof, laughing down at us.

You’ll never know how much my chest ached at the thought of losing you.

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You were small, fuzzy and dark, and I really didn’t know what you were. I never could’ve guessed that you were going to be my best friend.

The joy you brought us was not meant to be coveted. And so we made your Instagram account to share that happiness, and bring smiles to other people’s faces.

I can only hope to be so full of life like you are, Mr. Chicken.

You're adorably goofy, sweet and playful. You're kind and compassionate. You're uplifting in times of chaos and strife. Most of all, you love so openly. In the season of giving gifts and saying thanks, it’s hardly conventional to say thank you to a duck. But I truly have so much to thank you for. In the vastness of the world, I'm small. But you're the greatest part of me yet. You're a duck – but you still embody everything I strive to be. And for that, I thank you wholly.

Stephanie is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Technical Communication. She is also pursuing a minor in Writing and Rhetoric and a certificate in Editing and Publishing. In her free time, you can catch her playing video games, watching home makeovers on YouTube, or buying fake plants at Ikea.
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