Science is the process for finding the explanations that no one else can give you. Sometimes things just happen is not an explanation. It is not remotely scientific. But for weeks and weeks, that was all I had. Until I stood in that basement room looking at jellyfish on the other side of glass. Invisible The Jellies exhibit, below the touch tank, where the rest of my seventh-grade class flicked water at one another, was nearly empty. It was quiet down there, which was a relief.
Tanks filled the room, and in every one swam different types of jellyfish. I saw jellies whose tentacles were finer than hair; the aquarium must have projected lights into the tank, because the animals kept changing color. Such strange creatures, all of them—they looked like aliens, almost. Graceful aliens. Silent ones. Like alien ballerinas who danced without needing any music.
Near the corner of the room a sign said an invisible enigma. I knew what enigma meant—my mother often said I was one, especially when I dipped fried eggs in grape jelly or deliberately wore mismatched socks. Next to the sign, a photograph showed two fingers holding a tiny jar. Inside the jar, almost impossible to see, floated a transparent jellyfish about the size of a fingernail. The sign was only a couple of paragraphs long. It explained that the jar held something called an Irukandji jellyfish, whose venom is among the most dangerous in the world.
Some even said it was a thousand times as strong as that of a tarantula. That sounded completely awful. Scientists are trying to learn more about the venom, and about whether the true impact of the irukandji sting is much greater than previously understood. As a result, many researchers believe the irukandji has migrated far beyond its native Australia. As the oceans warm, it is likely that the irukandji, like other jellies, will continue to migrate over greater distances.
When I finished reading that passage, I read it again. I looked at the photograph, at that transparent little creature.
Nobody would ever see that thing in the water. It would be completely invisible. I turned back to the explanation. I stared at those words for a long time. My head buzzed, and I felt a little dizzy. It felt like nothing in the world existed besides me and those words and the silent creatures pulsing all around me. I stared at the words so long that they started looking unfamiliar, like something written in an entirely different language.
But upstairs, everything was different. The bearded aquarium worker had been replaced by a woman with a blonde ponytail. She said all the same things into the microphone— hands flat, keep still. This was a different school group altogether. I stepped out into the main part of the aquarium and looked around.
They would never even think to wonder. How to Make a Friend The first time I see you, you are wearing a light blue bathing suit.
7 Keys to Serenity | Keys to Serenity
It is the color of a summer sky, with sparkles all over it like stars, and it looks like day and night are happening at the same time. I am five years old, and I am starting kindergarten soon. We are at the big pool that is indoors. It is loud here. Everything echoes. The moms are sitting behind us on bleachers. We are supposed to hold on to a foam board and kick and let her pull us around the shallow end. Your hair looks like straw in sunlight.
I like your freckles, the way they look like constellations against your skin. When we are the last ones sitting there, just the two of us at the edge of the pool, the teacher with the whistle comes over to us. I am about to shake my head no when you turn to me. You look right at me, and I see your pink lips part. A smile. Then you take a deep breath and lower yourself into the water. Instead, you go underwater. Your eyes, hair, everything.
And you swim. All the way over to where the rest of the kids are clinging to their boards. Underwater the whole way. I follow you. I lower myself into the water, not because the lady tells me to but because I want to swim like you can. And because I like your freckles and your sun straw hair and the smile you showed me. And because at this moment, making a friend, and having one, seems like the easiest thing in the world.
A sign next to one of the tanks had said that there are million jellyfish stings every year. I counted again and again.
INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS
I counted so much that the counting and the stings started to seem like the same thing—as if instead of measuring the stings, I was somehow causing them. It was like one part of my brain insisted on defying another part of my brain. Rocco squinted up at me from the asphalt. He waved his hand toward the sky. He barely seemed to be talking to me, actually.
STORY 1. Six o'clock stuck on the bells of the church that was so conveniently near to Mr. Utterson's dwelling, and still he was digging at the problem. Hitherto it had touched him on the intellectual side alone; but now his imagination also was engaged, or rather enslaved; and as he lay and tossed in the gross darkness of the night and the curtained room, Mr. Enfield's tale went by before his mind in a scroll of lighted pictures.
He would be aware of the great field of lamps of a nocturnal city; then of the figure of a man walking swiftly; then of a child running from the doctor's; and then these met, and that human Juggernaut trod the child down and passed on regardless of her screams. Or else he would see a room in a rich house, where his friend lay asleep, dreaming and smiling at his dreams; and then the door of that room would be opened, the curtains of the bed plucked apart, the sleeper recalled, and lo!
The figure in these two phases haunted the lawyer all night; and if at any time he dozed over, it was but to see it glide more stealthily through sleeping houses, or move the more swiftly and still the more swiftly, even to dizziness, through wider labyrinths of lamplighted city, and at every street corner crush a child and leave her screaming.
And still the figure had no face by which he might know it; even in his dreams, it had no face, or one that baffled him and melted before his eyes; and thus it was that there sprang up and grew apace in the lawyer's mind a singularly strong, almost an inordinate, curiosity to behold the features of the real Mr.
If he could but once set eyes on him, he thought the mystery would lighten and perhaps roll altogether away, as was the habit of mysterious things when well examined. You just clipped your first slide! Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later. Now customize the name of a clipboard to store your clips.