In Search of the Giant Squid in All the Wrong Waters: Week 36
Friday, September 5, 2014, 8:24am
Today I searched for the giant squid in Freschette Lake, which is shaped not so much like a figure-8, but like the pear-shaped man drawing the figure-8 onto the ice, in my memory of my sister’s figure skating recital (during which nothing was really recited, save for the utterances of the accompanying music which ranged from [woefully] “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” to [creepily] “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”). The plunging-neckline, rhinestoned, royal-blue leotarded man drawing the figure-8 is my sister’s coach, Tom, whose sideburns I admired for both their thickness and brevity, the hairs of which provided a tether, an escape route for all of the frigid no-see-ums, bemused to find themselves within the confines of a rink, who climbed from the wet cave of Tom’s mouth (and certain death by salival drowning), to his hair, which warmed them without killing them, and in which they began to recover, to shake the ice from their wings, and to make plans. Like all of us, they wished to be bigger, differently named, and Tom performed a textbook triple-Lutz, and the crowd gasped before he landed, and the no-see-ums held on tight, and when he landed, unzipping the ice with his skate blade, everyone applauded, and the skies opened up outside, and we could hear the rain beating on the roof, and we felt safe in this chilly hollow—so much so that I almost fell asleep on my mom’s shoulder before my sister’s portion of the show. I ate my jalapeño Krunchers and forced myself to keep my eyes open. The pears here are stemless, having never been tethered to the tree. They began their lives rotting on the ground. Today, it was windy. Today, I vowed not to think of empty flagpoles, or passing trains, or the phrase, For the life of me. Today, I baited my hook with no potato chip. Instead, I left the hook bare. Allowed the sharpness—the threat of death, so tempting and malign—to be its own bait. Something took it. Tugged at the line. But it wasn’t the giant squid and, whatever it was, I, for one, stumbling back to a memory that grew ever hazier, couldn’t see it.