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Me and the Ducks

Me and the Ducks

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Published by Jacquee T.
A poor college student who needs a job finds herself continually drawn to the student union lakeside to watch the ducks.
A poor college student who needs a job finds herself continually drawn to the student union lakeside to watch the ducks.

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Published by: Jacquee T. on Aug 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/24/2011

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Me and the Ducks
a college student’s storyby
Jacquée Thomas© 2010 by Detour Productions, LLCall rights reserved
 photo by Patty Cash Rink 
 
Me and the Ducks
a college student’s storyby
Jacquée Thomas
I
t was the end of another semester and I had made it through my final examswithout going insane. Instead of a wild celebration, all I wanted was to have a beer at theMemorial Student Union terrace, and to sit by the Union property lakeside and wallow inrelief. No more exams for the entire summer!That’s all I wanted for the evening of my last exam before I set out the next day toseek a summer job, and that’s all I did.That evening I realized they were back – the ducks.I recalled previous summers with the ducks at the Union. I had gone to the troubleof popping popcorn by stovetop on several occasions, packing saltless, butterless popcornin a brown paper bag and walking to the Union to feed those ducks.Every summer it was the same. At the end of May and beginning of June, theducks were filled with appreciation; they gathered around quacking in gratitude. If theywere on shore they followed wherever I went, flapping their wings and quacking as Itossed popcorn at their feet.Yet, after I threw the last handful of popcorn they were gone, bumming off someone else.I hoped the ducks might recognize me whenever I returned, as one who hadgenerously fed them before. That never happened. By July so many people had been
 
Me and the Ducks
2feeding them they had no interest in what I offered. The ducks would often ignore me
and 
the popcorn I threw because they were already sated. No appreciation. Every summer it was the same pattern. Occasionally I tried tothrow something different. Once I tried to feed them lettuce from a sandwich I was eating.They had no interest in that.So I started to toss french fries from my lunch. Suddenly I was popular among theducks again. Junk food junkies. I felt used.I should have learned my lesson years ago with my pet duck, Disco. I had grownup in the country, and had raised Disco from a fuzzy duckling to a shiny drake. When hewas a baby he was tiny. Wherever I walked he waddled at my heels, flapping his tinywings and quacking. When Disco was an adult my family brought in other ducks.Disco no longer knew me. He was too busy being king of his duck clan. Once Istormed up and cried, “Disco, it’s me! Remember me?”My beloved Disco didn’t acknowledge me. He quacked to his clan members, theyquacked back, and they all waddled away. I was crushed.So that particular evening of the last exam I reminisced my tragedy with Disco,and recalled previous summers with the Memorial Union ducks. I decided not to feed theducks ever again; to their little eyes, I’d only be a speck in the crowd.But I couldn’t refrain from watching them, clusters of ducks wading by the peopleat shore, numerous voices quacking – not just duck voices. I observed that most peoplecouldn’t lounge near so many ducks without imitating them. When there was a lull in

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