“‘As a person, I always needed someone to hold me, but as a fish I was buoyant, able to hold myself. Now I’m a little buoyant, but also I need to be held, because I feel heavy inside. I miss the friends I made in the ocean.’
“We were lying in bed with the covers pulled up. We held cups of hot milk with honey.
“‘Other coelacanths. More than friends, actually. One was my mother and one was my father, and I had schools of brothers and sisters. I knew them, and they knew me. They didn’t wonder where I’d come from, because I’d always been there with them. As I am now. Even while lying with you, here, in our house, in our bed, I’m down there in cold water, swimming upside down, brushing against another coelacanth, making my presence felt and feeling the presence of another, before going off to a deep place to look for something precious.’
“‘A rock or a piece of coral. Something smooth, something shiny, something black.’
“Her breaths grew slow and deep, her breasts rose and fell. Katydids made scratchy noises in the pollenating mango outside our window. Wind blew a tree branch scraping clawlike against the house. A small time passed.”
—Donald Antrim, from “Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World”