The Common Atlantic Octopus Dwells in Temperate Waters

I said, “I love you.” I said it with the undulation of my first and seventh tentacles and my steady gaze but the tiny biped understood. I could tell because it loves me back and hearts joined speak a common language. I’ve never been in love not since my mother. Mating is a thing apart and I just try to get away before the female eats me. No this is a different love.
I had been so desperate when I was captured. Squished in a jar for transport, incarcerated in a barren tank for isolation, I turned ashen from grief. In the large tank I was frantic I could smell the ocean so close but when I pried open the lid, swirled down the irrigation pipe, inched across the itchy tiles, my door was shut against me. I squeezed that door. I squeezed myself black with mottled violet streaks. That was the first day I saw it peeking from behind the larger two legger who rubs headache inducing smells on the floors. The big one bought my captors and returned to my glass nightmare. As they looked fate me I was so exhausted I could only remember its smell, the smell of salt from its tears. The little biped was my ocean of sadness.
It would visit every night after my failed escape. First I shot ink at it because I was pissy about my capture. It just stared mouth open. Creepy. Then I camouflaged myself against the plastic coral and stared back intimidatingly. I did the many nights. It would look for me each night, searching hungrily, and then sit quietly. Also creepy. Then I didn’t see it for a few days. I realized I missed my creepy friend, my little ocean.
Finally one night I was bouncing a mollusk against the tank filter when it appeared. I rushed to the glass. It showed me me on white made from black lines. I liked this magic. It made more of me in black lines. I was swimming in the ocean of its magic. I moved my body to match its lines of me. We delighted in each other.
I waited for its joy during the lonely nights. I showed my little two legs all my colors. Doing acrobatics for its pleasure. I could feel its happiness and I felt alive. It would sing to me. “you are very beautiful, you are so smart as smart as dog my book says, are you happy here in this box after living in the whole ocean.” I didn’t know this sea song it was frankly rather odd, but I knew it was making the sounds for me. I felt seen.
One night I was tapping my favorite shells against the glass and contemplating chewing one of my arms off when it came with a shiny twig. It used the stick to open my door to the sea, a hole in the floor, a tunnel to freedom.
I cherry reddened in excitement rainbowing all my appreciation. Quick as a flash I cracked the seal with a scallop shell. Lifting with four and five, I declared my love. “Goodbye goodbye my friend. Be safe and go home. I will miss you,” it sang to me. My biped was happy and sad and I was sad and happy. The hole was a tight fit but the ocean called to me giving me the strength to push on. And now I’m swimming home as fast as I can but I will always be with my love, my little ocean. It loved me back, I know it.

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