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From The Missing Crab Diaries

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Joana Vasconcelos, Bestuario, 2012

A Fleeting Encounter



It was tiny. A sandy, marigold flower petal caught in my hair, bright yellow, floating on the breeze from who-knows-where. But I was lying on the sandy shore, where no flowering plants grew. I had been swimming, and my long, thick hair dried a wiry mop that made me look like a wolf child. The wind picked up strands of it, sending them up and around my head. I cleared them away from my mouth with a finger and reached for the teeny thing caught in there somewhere, the little yellow thing. 

It fell in my hand, and from its weight I knew it was not a flower. I saw it had delicate little claws, and little black eyes atop a miniscule cephalic. The pincers were long and translucent and the dactyli sharp as needles. No larger than a kernel of corn, it froze in my hand, then roused itself and skittered jauntily over my palm.

“Where are you going, little guy?” I asked. It was already halfway over my forearm, just clearing the inner border of my fiddler crab tattoo. I got on my stomach and transferred it to the other hand, so it could walk another stretch. I was so engrossed in its petite movements that I did not anticipate the incoming tide that came rushing in to splash my face. It had me swallow a good deal of salt water before rushing off again, taking the little crab with it.

I too was engulfed by a sea of things outside my control. I would have to be like that little crab.

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