I reached to touch the shell, but jumped––as I did whenever dogs barked, cats darted from shadows, acorns hit the sidewalk, lizards rustled through underbrush, or toads materialized near my knees in the garden. Surely, truth and contentment lay beyond this constant cowardice.
"Like this." Ben demonstrated.
I gripped the sides of the shell. Held my breath. Lifted.
The turtle whipped its head toward my hand, jaws snapping. I jumped, dropped it on its back...and stopped wishing for courage.