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I wish I were a fish

February 25, 2010

Scorching my back the sun reflects off the bottom of the shallow shoreline highlighting every grain of sand like it’s a pearl inside an oyster. The stale salty rubber taste in my mouth is familiar and gross and a small lap makes the wave jump into my snorkel and I have to jettison the water from the tube so I don’t choke. It’s silent in the water, my ears muffled and the loudest and only sound is my ragged breathing and my heart beating. Knowing the cove well, the rocky topography easily navigated as I allow the current to push me around saving my energy for diving far below as the current takes me out further from the beach. My hands clasped behind my back I float in 2 feet of water watching small fry fish dart around the sand, look for baby mollusks glued to stalks of sea grass. The tide pushes and pulls me and the lightest grains of sand are swept up and are plunked down with a rhythm similar to my own heart beating. Disguised as sand I spy a spiny fish looking at me, so close I could pet him but don’t because I reasonably deduce that if he is not afraid of me I should be afraid of him. A school of anchovy swim close and dart away moving like sheep on a hillside or like geese flying south for the winter. Over a cave I breath in and out fast and on the last big breath I hold it in, tilting my head down, water pressing on my ears, the weight of the sea against my shoulders I kick with my flippers to peer inside of a small cave as i let small bubbles trickle out of my snorkel. I know I must be about 30 feet down and when the pressure in my ears is too great I raise my chin to see the surface and point myself like an arrow to break the surface. Pulling my mask off the water feels delicious and soft on my forehead and eyelids I dunk my head under over and over again then wiping the salt from my eyes I turn toward shore feeling like the bottom of the sea is a secret that only I can keep.

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