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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

The Heart Of The Matter

I toured Florida the same way that I have toured other states, I drove in circumambulation around it, going down the east coast, out across the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key West, and then back up the west coast, seeing the sights along the way. I crisscrossed Florida to see more sights, including SeaWorld Orlando which fascinated me so much that I went back a second day because I did not understand the plight of those massive animals in minuscule confinements. I wondered if I would retire to Florida as so many do. But I knew that Florida had started out as a swamp, and even though now it is highly developed, it is still is a swamp underneath, and it definitely smells like a swamp. I did not find the eight-foot alligator along the highway picturesque, I prefer pine forests or prairie flowers. Still, I will admit that alligator pickled, sautéed, or barbequed is quite tasty, although I do have qualms about eating carnivores/scavengers. I toured a bit of the swamp on an airboat but the stench and the tangled mass of water plants waving over my head gave me the creeps. I endured stoically, riding it out, waiting for the tour to be over, but the owner of the airboat noticed and took offense. He gave me an insinuating look and diverted the airboat to an alligator nest where he bumped my side of it up against the mother alligator until she jumped higher than the low gunnels of the boat, hissing and flailing scaled claws, and I screamed. He smiled with evil satisfaction. How disgusting to torment poor alligator and me.

In Key West a strung out fortuneteller wanted a hundred dollars that I did not have, and I drew her special ire when I expressed my skepticism about astrology and the ilk. Then to see what it was all about I let her talk me into a cheap curbside psychic reading. She took my five dollar bill with contempt in her fingertips and whispered, “You will never find anyone capable of loving you the way you love.” That is all she said before vanishing. She sought to break my heart with her “truth”, but I see no evidence in my life that I am particularly good at loving. It is one thing to love the world with prayer and to work with wholehearted good intentions toward others, it is quite another thing to love a single mortal soul with feet of clay. (I am speaking as one clay-foot to the other.) I never found Plato’s “other half” of myself, could never get to the heart of the matter.

Caption: The Heart Of The Matter

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018

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