I was in 4th grade, trying frantically to finish an assignment that had been due the day before. But when Anna yelled, “Come! I can’t find Poseidon, Genna!” I was caught off-guard. Poseidon was a hermit-crab, and Anna and I were the apprentices of Azuri, the main caretaker of the hermit-crabs.
I hurried into the Sottovoce Room where everyone was swarming around the tank like bees around a jar of honey. “Sottovoce” means “quiet,” but at the moment, it wasn’t very quiet at all.
“Have you checked EVERY shell?” I asked.
“Yeah, every one,” said Anna. I lifted up the lid and started rearranging the tank, but I didn’t find anything.
Well, the news got around to Azuri, because all of a sudden she was parting the crowd of pepped-up fourth graders.
“Hermit-crab master, coming through!” said Azuri. She turned to Anna and me. “Is he really dead?” asked Azuri.
“No, I don’t know,” said Anna.
I picked up the empty spider-man shell to show Azuri, but was pushed back into my seat by the excited crowd. The shell clattered to the floor. Azuri and Anna didn’t notice. I saw Azuri double-checking the tank. “I can’t find him, peoples! Go back to your work!” That was all I heard because the grammar lesson had to go on.
As I tried to fill my head with the facts about commas and apostrophes and plurals that I already knew by heart, I still couldn’t keep my mind off Poseidon. He had been my best buddy and favorite of the hermit-crabs. I was going to miss him so much.
Gradually, the gnawing feeling I had been suffering from faded away. Although the feeling isn’t as strong now, I still feel sad when I look at that empty space where Poseidon’s nametag used to be.