Zagreb: Zrinjevac Park

Geneva Tom and I decide to ride our bikes to the lake. Our plan is to sleep on the beach under the stars; however we no sooner stretch out on the beach than we hear thunder rolling in over the lake. We ride our bikes to the closest motel. While they have a room it takes almost all the money we have to stay there. Getting up the next morning we realize we have a long ride ahead of us and no resources to buy a meal. At the first village we stop in a corner store to see what we can afford. Scouring the shelves we call out to each other with affordable options. “Cookies for sixty-nine cents!” “What about a popsicle?” As we pedal laboriously down the country road we pass a cornfield. We park our bicycles on the side of the road and sample the immature corn.

We feel embraced by the white trunks of the century-old plane trees as we listen to Croatian folk songs in Zrinjevac Park.

My Aunt Mae goes down to the docks and buys lobster fresh off the boats. We all go to a park where she gets a huge pot of water boiling for a family lobster picnic. No one knows how to eat lobster like my Aunt Mae. My grandfather won’t eat lobster at all because when drowning victims are pulled from the sea they are covered with lobsters feeding on their flesh.

He is standing waste-deep in the lake. He notices off to his left people have formed a human chain and are walking deeper into the water. He looks to his right and sees a middle-aged man walking purposefully toward the group. He has a large belly, sunburned only on the top. There are tears in his eyes. A small body is pulled from the water.