November 3, 2017
Summertime yet too cool for a swim in the all too familiar Bend, without the company of my sled and with the added company of a younger brother. For those of you unfamiliar with The Bend, it is simply a woodsy area that lies on an oversized berm. The pine trees guard only the right side of the berm before the left turn, and on the other side of the straightaway resides a man – made damn that overlooks the path like a warden. Once the first rounded corner of the mound develops, the woods open up into a system of rivers that sweep the sides of the berm and open up into various small pools, where different creatures reside.
Today, we are fishing, so we walk the path that everyone knows, but take by foot rather than by sled which I still cannot fathom. Who took my sled? As we enter the realm of The Bend and approach one of the small pools, commotion is evident under the surface; a struggle. A chimpanzee is making a sad attempt at staying afloat, and my younger brother jumps in to save him. Remaining on land, I think to myself that he may have been under for too long, yet he manages to break the surface of the moss ridden water with the gasping chimp.
Time goes on, summer bleeds into winter. It is almost as if I slept a wink and the Sandman delivered a thick blanket of snow rather than the sweet blessing of sleep. Why are we still here? Standing at the mouth of The Bend, I see that there are no longer pines populating the right of the straightaway, along with no other trace of the habitual creatures making their daily travels to and from the mystical place. My younger brother is upset and I study the unfamiliar surroundings: the chimp is nowhere to be found.
He begins to dig and makes me help. It’s just a chimp, I think to myself, but I help my brother to quell his rampant mind. We are trying to uncover the pines since the snow reached so high, and everyone knows you cannot enter The Bend unless the pines are able to guard. We continued for days, and were eventually granted the right to navigate once the sentries were exposed. My brother decided to check the pool where we first discovered the chimp, and to our surprise it was not frozen over. More commotion. Currents. Bubbles.
He leaps in once more, again staying under for too long. Reaching my hand in to retrieve my sibling, the chimp’s skull ascends, its distorted shape from being submerged startling me. Sitting there bewildered, I wonder why the flesh is stripped from the chimps waterlogged skull. As if answering my question, my brothers skull suffering from the same condition bounces to the surface like a fishing bobber. He did not survive his first attempt to save the chimp. They were both dead the whole time.
And then I woke up.