It has been eight years since we moved to Keyport. Our house is facing the bay right on the Keyport Beach Park. Almost every day, I watch Max, Keyport’s beloved, lonely swan gliding on the water towards M.D. Abramowitz’ house to have his breakfast and to have his dinner. Max befriended M.D., or vice versa, but they have a special relationship.
I learned the bits and pieces of this relationship from M.D. Years ago, Max’s father and mother abandoned him. M.D. thinks Max’s father could have been territorial. As a survivor, Max managed to live his life alone, without any clue about how famous he became. He is the symbol of Keyport. Should Keyport change its motto from “Pearl of the Bayshore” to “Home of the Lonely Swan”?
We all watched Max swimming across the bay, stopping for a break at the beach front hanging out with the sea gulls. Did he ever know that he was beautiful? Did he ever know that he was bigger than any of the other birds?
Then, Max disappeared. Keyport Facebook page was full of speculations on the whereabouts of Max. There were sightings of him in the area, here and there, but never where he used to be. He just disappeared.
One day, I saw him again. He was majestically gliding, with a young woman tagging along behind him. M.D. said Max brought “Beauty” (that is what M.D. named the new girlfriend) to introduce her to M.D. Other Keyport residents started to call her Maxine.
“He walked up to my yard, Bowed. And turned around, and pointed towards the young swan with his head, as if he is saying: ‘There is my new girlfriend’” said M.D. M.D. started to feed them both.
A few months later, they disappeared together. Then, Max would come alone. We all got excited that there would be a cygnet soon paddling behind them. There was a big storm and a few days later, both Max and Beauty showed up together with no baby. Apparently, the storm destroyed the nest.
Max and Beauty continued to hang out together. But, the days were not always flawless for them. Not sure, they might not have been crazy for each other. One morning, while getting our kayak on the water, we saw them totally separate with their heads turned away from each other. Anne Marie and Marie told us later that the lady swan took off to Staten Island, and was definitely pissed off at Max. She came back later and they were still standing with their backs to each other. Somehow, they managed to make up.
We patiently waited for a new baby. A few months later, a gray cygnet cracked his shell and saw the blue sky. I did not see the baby. M.D. took a picture of the three, and posted it on the Keyport Facebook page on October
22, 2015, asking the children of Keyport to name him.
I still have not seen the baby. One day, on the beach, I was taking pictures of the swans and I saw a skeleton lying on the beach. All white and looking like either a large mouth bass with a big head, or the body of a baby swan. My heart sank. I sent the picture to M.D. She finally received a confirmation from one her friends stating that it was a skeleton of a large mouth bass. That was a relief. But, was it?
But the story got bigger. M.D. noticed that the new lady swan is different than Beauty.
So, the baby is gone. Is he totally gone? And Beauty is gone too? The new lady swan was there for a short time.
Now, we start the winter all over again, but the saga of Max still continues. In the last two weeks, Max is all alone again.
We think our lives are complex. Does Max ever think that way? Or, does he just shake his shoulders and say, “whatever!”