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Head Over Heels
an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

March 28

No sight of him yet. I am beginning to doubt the Greek man’s sagacious advice, or at least my interpretation of it. I’m 130 pages into Zorba the Greek, and I’m grooving on it, though Zorba’s having a better go of it than I am. I’ve played so many games of Boggle that I actually attained the Boggle Holy Grail: an eight-letter, eleven-point word. The word was epitomes—totally underused word. As in: If there were two of me, both of us would be the epitomes of sheer idiocy if we kept waiting around for this guy to show up. Okay, fine, epitome really isn’t plural, because there’s only one epitome of something—but I think I deserved a little slide on that one after everything I’ve been through lately.

Finally, my forbearance pushed to the breaking point, I made the executive decision to go with my parents to the manatee park. The manatee park is next to this big electricity plant. It’s almost like a Simpson’s episode. The manatees come to huddle in the warm glow of the plant’s incandescence, which could be discomfiting if you think too hard about it. We walked out onto a wooden bridge and watched these overgrown slugs with mammalian facial features float up to the surface to sniff for air.

We were all on the hunt for them. When someone pointed—“Hey look!”—the rest of us would run over to that spot to coo at this snorting sea cow. It made you feel good that these benevolent behemoths were extant, swimming around, tending to their young and gnawing marine grasses. It made you want to kiss their cleft chins and nuzzle up to their whiskered snouts. The Everglades had shrunken, sure, and the churn of boat propellers had lacerated their backsides (or so I read on a sign posted on the bridge describing the life cycle of the manatee), but none of it could deter the manatees from this dose of warm, wet love. These resilient beasts had the same recipe for comfort as us terrestrial mammals: a distended belly and some warm, cozy love.

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