Photo by Francisco Arnela on Unsplash




CJ Jerabek

Santos Olivera thoroughly enjoyed his life on the tropical island in Brazil where he had lived since he was born.  Every day, he made it a point to connect with the beautiful nature around him – the sun, the sand, and the sea.  He felt oneness with the world.  He felt sorry for those who lived in overcrowded cities and places, they missed out on such serenity.

One morning when Santos was walking along the beach, feeling the cool sand under his feet, he discovered a penguin had washed ashore.  “Oh, poor soul,” he comforted, gently touching the penguin who was struggling to breathe.

Santos carried the penguin his arms to his shanty in the forest.  He gathered fish for it to eat and had it drink water and milk.  Day after day, Santos nursed the penguin until it began to get better.  He made a makeshift pool for the penguin to play in.

“I will call you Destiny,” he told the penguin one night before bed.  “For it was destiny that brought us together and destiny that will return you to the sea…your home.”

The day came that Santos knew it was time to give his borrowed friend back to the sea of which he belonged.  “I will miss you desperately,” Santos whispered.  He was sure Destiny understood what he was saying because the two shared a strong bond.

As he gently lifted him into the water, Santos said his goodbyes.  “Swim with the angels,” Santos bid as Destiny paddled away with the current.

A great emptiness filled Santos’ soul.  He longed for his black and white buddy.  But, he knew it was for the best.

The next year, Santos was taking his daily walk on the beach under the warm sun.  He thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye.  He looked again in disbelief.  Sure enough, there he was.  It was Destiny!

Destiny stayed with Santos for a month.  The two cuddled and played and Santos told him stories he recalled from his childhood.  Then, one day when the two were hanging out on the beach, Destiny fluttered away with the tide.

Santos tried to refrain from feeling sad.  He focused on how fortunate he was to have spent time with Destiny.  Still, he missed him terribly.

A year passed.  It was summer again.  Low and behold, Santos stumbled on Destiny at the shoreline yet again.  And, once again, Destiny spent a month with Santos.

And so it was that the tradition began.  For one month out of every summer, the two shared time together.  Santos relished each and every moment.

One summer, Destiny arrived for his one month visit, but the man was not at the beach to greet him.  He decided to waddle up to Santos’ house to see if something was wrong.

When Destiny arrived at the house in the forest, there were people there who he had never seen before.  He snuck passed them so as not to cause a scene.  He had to find Santos.

Finally, Destiny found Santos in his bed.  He was sick with a fever and had the covers pulled tightly around him.  Destiny sensed Santos was nearing the end.  He climbed into the bed and laid next to him.

Even in his darkest hour, Santos felt the love of his little friend.  “Soar with the angels,” he thought he heard Destiny whisper.  And so…he did.

Destiny sadly made his way back to the sea.  He would miss Santos greatly.  He thought how his friend had saved him. He considered their unique friendship, he was unlike any human. A beautiful soul. The bird took one last long look at the beach, he waddled into the surf.

Even death could not separate true friends.  They would meet again.  It was their destiny.

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