There weren’t ducks in the pond. There had never been ducks in the pond. The sign said it was a duck pond, but really it was a turtle pond, and a forgetting pond. There weren’t ducks, but there were turtles, and if you wrote down what you wanted to forget on a little slip of paper and rolled it up inside of a slice of cucumber, a turtle would eat it and you wouldn’t remember it anymore. Excellent system, but I think I had fallen into a habit of abusing it. Sunday ritual. Some people went to church. I went to the duck pond by my dead friend Abigail’s house, next to the mostly-wild greenhouse and the entrance to the jogging trail.
This was the first Sunday that Abigail had been dead, though. This afternoon Dr Matthews had said that I would have lots of realisations over the next couple of days that this was the first time I had done such-and-such thing or been at this-or-that place with Abigail dead, but I couldn’t realise any of this without forgetting that Abigail was dead first, and I hadn’t forgotten since I woke up to the news this morning.
I crouched by the pond but none of the turtles were coming over so I left my rolled-up cucumber scroll on a rock and reread the stone-embedded copper plaque about how you shouldn’t feed the ducks for about the fifteenth time. The plaque didn’t have anything on it about feeding the turtles. It read that the pond was one of the last refuges of the Striped Eastern Mallard and therefore was extremely important.
The Striped Eastern Mallard, the plaque read, had been moving steadily west over the last two centuries due to habitat destruction. I think the ducks had given up on Vermont. Either that or they’d forgotten about this last refuge. Maybe they had talked to the turtles.
We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now.