well, as if dead rainbows last week wasn't enough, tragedy has struck the anderson household yet again.
on wednesday it was discovered that our hermit crab, curious, is no longer in his cage. his cage which is on my daughter's bookshelf, around 3 feet from the floor. curious has escaped. has flown the coop. has kamikazed to his death. or, disintegrated. i even had the thought that maybe curious was a very spiritual hermit crab (he has heard many bedtime prayers) and was just taken up into the air like Elijah. because the truly shocking part is: his shell is still there. in the cage. curiouser and curiouser.
now, anyone out there who is remotely like me, is instantly picturing a naked hermit crab (as much as one is able to - what does a hermit crab look like with no shell?) lying in wait in some dusty corner, desperate for a stray toe, a wandering finger to come to close, and then, NAB! i know, it's terrifying, even if the crustacean is less then 2 inches long. it's been 4 days and it's quite probable that curious is dead, but if i start picturing him lurking...
okay, i have to stop picturing that.
when we first discovered the break-out i very bravely picked up all four shells in the cage and brought them frightfully near my eye to see if there was somehow a little crabby hiding in it's depths. but i have to confess to you, that every time i turned a shell over there was a voice inside me saying "please be empty, please be empty, please be empty". incredibly selfish when my daughter was looking at me with her huge despairing eyes.
she cried in bed the following night. "i loved curious!" she moan,.
"well, honey, he wasn't exactly a cuddly pet"
"he wasn't a pet that played or that was even friendly, really"
"he was more friendly than george!" [the other hermit crab that died on the drive here from saskatoon]
"yes, i'll give him that. but... he was a.... hermit."
who thought of making a hermit crab a pet in the first place!? didn't the word hermit clue them off to the fact that these crabs are not looking for loving companionship? [just to remind you, we were given these crabs, so you can just stop that train of thought about how stupid we were to buy them to begin with].
if i don't sound incredibly sensitive or sympathetic to my daughter, trust me, you wouldn't be either. one look at those wandering antennae eyes and snapping claws...what if he's under my bed right now?! no, okay, i did try and console her with the fact that curious died in a fitting way - on an adventure. he lived up to his name. "curiosity killed the hermit crab". he threw off the confining structures of his world, broke free from stereotype and conventional thought, and walked out of that shell. he died a free crab. (as i was waxing eloquent on these points she looked up at me and said "in this light, it looks like you're joking" - as though, the dim light of her bedroom must be tricking her eyes because there's no way her mother would be trying to comfort her in such a manner. whoops!)
and to her credit, my daughter has handled the searing loss quite well. just last night she was online researching turtles. which, from what we can tell, are highly poisonous and should never be considered as a pet. fantastic! my life as an adult pet-owner has been quite the ride: gerbil poop in the kitchen, escapee hermit crab, why not add poisonous environmental hazard to the mix? how about a komodo dragon? electric eel? baboon? oh the places we can go.
and to you curious: despite your general lack of affection, gross ugliness and obvious unhappiness, you will be missed. my daughter's heart was big enough to welcome you in - as she makes pets of wood bugs and names earth worms and once carried a wounded dragon fly around on her shoulder for an entire afternoon.
please don't take it personally when i say that, wherever you are, i hope you are no longer among the living.
okay, i have to stop picturing that.