annette's whale


three vasesThere was this woman —

Named Annette when I was little who was friends with my parents. She was very glamorous and dashing, and tall [or at least she seemed tall to me but I was little and everyone is tall to you when you are little], and thin and pale with dark eyes and long dark hair. My mother said Annette could put on army fatigues she found at a used clothes shop and look elegant. This was before everyone went to used clothes shops and bought army fatigue pants but Annette did and my mother talked about Annette the way she talked about me when she said “lace curtains in winter and snow suits in summer.” Like she sort of disapproved and was fascinated all at the same time by something she found elegant and incomprehensible. So I knew Annette and I were alike but I did not know why except it was like lace curtains in winter and snow suits in summer.

Annette had this toy whale. It was just a little hollow plastic toy whale. Blue and white. But it had a special name I have forgotten and Annette loved that whale and still let me play with it. This was before my brother was born and after my sister was gone so I was the only kid mostly in a sea of adults and most of them did not have much time for kids and all had toys kids absolutely could not play with so playing with Annette’s little hollow whale was special. She said if I was real careful I could take the whale out and let it float on the stream in the wash. I forget what city we were in, we were in so many cities when I was little. But this had to be in a canyon because mostly only canyons have washes. These man made streams for water run off from somewhere wild nearby. They have cement walls and cobbled bases and the streams trickle and sometimes run fast across them and away somewhere to an ocean. It must have been winter sometime around my birthday because that is when those washes always ran fast. And Annette put a ribbon around the whale’s neck and she was going to tie the other end of the ribbon around my wrist so the whale could not float away but I said no, I could hold it. And she said are you sure? And I said oh yes, I would hold on tight. So then I took the whale out and let it float in the little wash river.

And I was a dumb kid who should have had that ribbon tied around my wrist just like Annette said and of course I lost hold of the ribbon and the Annette whale floated right away down that wash.

I couldn’t catch it the water moved too fast across all those man set cobbles the wash ran down and my legs were too short and there were sticks and I was wearing too many clothes because it was cold to really run so that whale just went away.

And I had to go back and tell Annette I lost her whale because I didn’t want her to tie that ribbon around my wrist because I wanted her to think I was big enough to hold it myself and I wasn’t.

You know how your feet get real heavy when you are little and have to tell someone you did something wrong? My feet were real real heavy and the walk back to tell Annette was a real long walk especially up stairs through a door not carrying any whale or ribbon.

When Annette saw me with no whale or ribbon she knew right off but she did not say, Did you lose that whale? She let me tell her I lost the whale. And she did not get mad. Even though you could tell she really loved that whale toy and was sorry it was gone. I figure she knew I was a little kid and tying that ribbon had really been up to her. But I did not know that. I always thought that stuff was up to me and I felt bad.

The next time we visited Annette the Annette whale was back. A man we knew had hiked all the way down that wash looking for Annette’s whale till he found it with its ribbon tangled in wash sticks and brought it back.

I tie ribbons around my wrist now so I do not lose what matters to other people.


where this came from :
seemaxrun thoughts 2002

where the artwork comes from :
that is still life by alexedg

30 Responses to annette’s whale

  1. I love this story, especially the part about the ribbon really being her decision because you were a child.
    An elegant tribute to a couple of elegant ladies.

    Merry Christmas, Max.

  2. max

    Annette was special to me. She knew the difference between what is a little kid’s fault, and what is an adult’s fault. Which is more than I can say for most adults I was around as a kid.

    I do not really tie ribbons to my wrist. I wear a silver band. It is always there.

  3. Annette sounds like a cool lady.

    Glad you had a nice dinner, Max.

  4. Sophia

    That is such a beautiful story. I loved the very last line. “I tie ribbons around my wrist now so I do not lose what matters to other people”. Subtext? Could be. If only we all tied a ribbon so that we don’t forget. Sigh.

  5. max

    Sophia, you are back. Yay!

    Those ribbons really pissed my mom off she never understood why I wore what I wore or what much of it all meant to me. Good thing I could upgrade when I got old enough to buy silver.

  6. Sophia

    You really have a silver ribbon tied around your wrist? I thought that was said metaphorically. It sort of reminds me that thing people do… that they tie a piece of rope around their middle finger so that they don’t forget something important (of course, most of the times, they end up remembering that there’s something important they should remember of but they don’t remember what that important thing was, but that’s another topic). A ribbon like that to me it would be a constant reminder of how important other people are and that I should not let them down. Maybe I should take your example.

    So good to be back. Yay!

  7. max

    It is just a silver band. I will look around and see if it shows in a photo around here somewhere.

    I am so glad you are back. You missed drunken Christmas blogging.

  8. Sophia

    You know you owe me a drunken New Year’s Eve blogging, don’t you?

  9. max

    But what if I have a date?

    [it could happen]

  10. Sophia

    Oh, then, that’s another story. Of course a New Year’s Eve date comes first. And when your date “is done”, you can come online. Unless your date “lasts all night”… [it could happen]

  11. max

    Wow, and I thought I was the whacky optimist.

  12. Sophia

    Can’t you at least say thank you for that grand, generous wish I just gave you? I hope Santa knows already how ungrateful you are.

  13. max

    Bless you, Sophia, for that grand generous wish.

  14. Sophia

    And stop bribing Santa. Anything you have or have not said so far is officially recorded.

    Oh, and by the way…. you’re welcome.

  15. max

    Christmas is not Christmas without a few good bribes.

  16. I normally have a really short attention span. But i’ve been sitting here reading through your blogs and then this story, which is beautiful and elegant in its own right, comes up, and I believe I will frequent often.

  17. max

    Thanks, Monique. [Should I call you L. or call you Monique?]

  18. max

    L. it is. Thanks for visiting L.

  19. “She said if I was real careful I could take the whale out and let it float on the stream in the wash. I forget what city we were in, we were in so many cities when I was little.”

    Yeah, but don’t the batteries get wet? :)

  20. max

    I think you are talking about a different kind of whale.

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  22. max

    This is why you beat me out on that slut score isn’t it?

  23. No. I don’t think I’d be sitting at home with a vibrator made out of pathetic shapes such as whales and cats and bunnies. Such beastiality. Oh no! That horse dream is coming back. Argh!

  24. max

    I should have gotten a much better score. I told that thing I was 13 and had had fifty lovers and did it care? No, it still about dropped me into the nun zone.

    Just say no to horse dreams.

  25. Well, I always thought Celluloid Blonde was one hard habit to break!

    BTW, have a new quiz for you. I will have to find it, retake it and post it. There are some quizzes on that site written by questionable people. I think these people have a degree in perversity. Probably the same sort of who use that site for dating so be careful if you should get any crazy ideas on a drunken night!

  26. That was heart heartbreakingly lovely, Max.

    It’s funny, people can learn to fake grand gestures…but it’s those first natured little kindnesses that speak so much more to ones character. When their immediate reaction to a moment of weakness is to gather you up and make you stronger.

  27. max

    Thank you, Valliant.

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