'Then out to the pier, to the edge of the pier, to wait and see if any of those glorious, misshapen lumps of sea creature would show up.
"I really hope the manatees come today" Mom said.
It had been, I realised then, a year and a half filled with many odd superstitions that would come over me suddenly - what Joan Didion would call "magical thinking". All I could focus on was the following nonsensical equation: If the manatees came, it would be a good day, Mom would feel "better"....... I stared deep into the water, hoping to see one.
Then I saw one manatee and then another, and then one more. The harbor was filled with a jumble of powerboats, the hulls of which were linen-crisp against the murky water and the bright blue of the sky. The boats were still unmanned. The manatees moved slowly around and between them. But in the distance were boats at full power, churning the water. And when you stared at the backs of the manatees, you could see great gashes that had scabbed over.'
From the amazingly moving The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Scwalbe, which is mostly not about manatees but about books and illness, grief and dying, and which I review here, on my Shapeshifting Green blog.
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