Iggy recognized the aroma of sautéed spinach and mushrooms coming from downstairs as he nervously washed his face and combed his spines. On this particular morning, Iggy would have much rather crawled back in bed! For some reason, he had lost his appetite for his favorite meal of the day.
As the tired iguana tiptoed down to the kitchen, he carefully held his long, clumsy tail in one hand. Waking up his little sister, Molly, on the wrong side of the bed would be a morning tragedy. Molly was known for throwing major temper tantrums. Iggy sat down and stared hopelessly at his breakfast.
“What’s wrong, son?” asked his mother, when she noticed Iggy hadn’t touched his favorite dish. “Aren’t you feeling well?”
“Mom, what if I’m the only iguana in my class?” “Honey, are those butterflies fluttering around in your tummy again?”
“Uh, I guess,” admitted the shy lizard.
“It’s natural to be nervous about your first day at a new school,” Mrs. Green said, trying to comfort her son.
“I know, but what if everyone is bigger than me? What if I’m allergic to furry animals?”
“Sweetie, you can’t go to an all-lizard school forever!” his mom laughed.
“Because, it’s time for you to meet animals who are different than you. Now try to eat some breakfast so you will have enough energy to concentrate on your lessons.”
Iggy had attended the same elementary school all his life in a suburban area outside of Houston, called Harris County. He never had to worry about making new friends because he attended school with the same twelve lizards ever since Pre-K. Iggy considered this group of lizards to be more like family than friends. The idea of making new friends was terrifying for the reserved iguana.
As Iggy began to eat his green meal, the back door swung wide open. Iggy perked up to the sight of his dad bouncing in with a huge, open-mouthed smile on his face.
“Good morning, Champ,” said his dad.
“Hi Dad, how was your morning run?”
“It was nice, but a bit humid. I think I got bit.”
“By a mosquito?” Iggy asked.
“Yeah, but I can’t complain. I can take the
Houston humidity and bugs for these flat trails any day. Besides son, we’re lizards. We like this heat.” Mr. Green was a professional runner. Iguanas are known for their speed and great running legs. Mr. Green’s daily life revolved around racing. He trained at Memorial Park and coached other runners on the side. The Green family had to move into the city so that he could be closer to the training grounds. Iggy wanted to be an athlete just like his dad one day.
Just as Iggy started to forget his butterfly problem, his mom walked over to the table and said, “I bet your dad was nervous on the day of his first race,” as she handed her husband a glass of water.
“I’ll say! Nervous and excited at the same time,” chuckled Mr. Green.
Yep, the butterflies were back. “I’m just nervous, Dad.”
“Well, of course you’re going to be a little skittish. It’s that fear of the unknown. But it’s a good fear. It means you’re alive and full of healthy energy, son!”
Fear of the unknown? It sounded like Iggy’s dad was talking about a mission to space or something, not fourth grade! Dad’s words just weren’t helping this time.
After breakfast, Iggy’s mom dropped him off at school, which was right down the street. “Just be yourself, honey. You are such a likeable lizard!” It really did pain Iggy’s mom to watch her son in such an uncomfortable situation.
“MEMORIAL ELEMENTARY,” Iggy read across the front of the school door as he slowly crept through the entrance. Due to the slowness of his creeping, Iggy didn’t have enough time to get his long tail all the way inside before the door
closed. “Ouch!” screamed Iggy. He turned around, trying to shake his tail loose before someone noticed his clumsy move.
“Are you okay?” asked a voice from behind.
Great. He did have a witness. Iggy slowly looked up to see a beautiful lime green and tan lizard.
“Hi,” she said, “I’m Lizibeth. I know how it feels to get your tail stuck in the door!”
Iggy was a bit tongue-tied as he searched for something to say back. “That wasn’t my first time, either,” he shrugged. “I’m Iggy. Iggy the Iguana.”
“Whoa! Your tail is sooo long!” Lizibeth gasped as she looked down to see if his tail was hurt.
Iggy self-consciously pulled his tail close to his body, trying to hide its length. “I hate dragging this useless thing around all day!”
“I hear yah!” laughed Lizibeth. “So what grade are you in, Iggy?”
“Me? Um ... ” he paused, “fourth.”
“Me too!” she smiled.
Iggy quickly added, “And today is my first day at this school.”
Lizibeth tried to put the fidgety iguana at ease. “Oh, you’ll love it here. Everyone is so nice!”
As Iggy looked around, he noticed the clock on the wall. “We don’t want to be late on the first day of school!”
“It’s okay, we don’t have to walk far,” Lizibeth reassured him.
Both lizards started walking toward the fourth grade classroom. Iggy was happy that he had already made a new friend, and she was a lizard. It was nice to have something in common. Hopefully the rest of the animals would be just as friendly.