Lovely on the Water – Part I entry 1

Etana, Anu, Nergal


Leslie drove slowly on the Taconic.

The Taconic is infamous for its snakelike windings, the rather suddenly-appearing traffic circle at its entrance, its sharply graded turns, its poorly indicated exits and its speed traps.  Every year, as my father would motor us up to summer camp, we would see someone, sometimes someone we knew, who had been caught in an officer’s maw.

But this wasn’t the camp summer of a thousand crowded heartbreaks; this was winter, the season of silent waiting and majestic loneliness.  There was some snow on the ground, although most of it had been shoveled and bulldozed off to the sides of the road, making an already thin two-lane strip of highway thinner.

I tried to make as little conversation as possible.  I figured that we’d talk more when we got onto the Thruway, which hopefully would be clearer and less slippery.

Still, my curiosity and fears nagged at me constantly and I couldn’t resist teasing. 

“So what do they wear?” I said as we passed one of the higher edges of a Fallen Rock zone.

“Stop trying so hard to imagine,” she said. “Why do you have to know everything in advance?”

“Because I want to be prepared,” I said.

“Do you think you can be prepared for everything that comes along?” Leslie snapped as she eased up a winding hill.

“I’d like to be.”

“Well, here it’s their job to be prepared for you.”

“They’ll never be prepared for me.”


At Chatham we switched onto the Thruway and my questioning began again.

“So how do we choose a  – friend?”

“There are many possibilities.”

Leslie then pulled over to the shoulder.  She took her hands from the wheel. “I didn’t ask you up here to punish you.”

“I know,” I said, “but it’s just that I can’t believe that- ”

“That what?”

“That men there really want to be with someone who- ”

“Someone who isn’t a size 2 or 4?”

“Well, yes, to put it that way.”

“Look,” Leslie said, “try to take this as it comes. I promise you that it will all become clearer. But for now, just know that this is something you don’t have to worry about, for many reasons. Let your senses have a picnic.”

I laughed. “I don’t think my senses have had a picnic since college.”

“Then it’s about time they started,” she said as she started the car again.


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