If not human, I would definitely be a fish. What kind doesn’t matter to me, just as long as I get to choose where I’d swim. I’m not a fan of lakes or streams: the fish there are too exclusive. Greys, silvers, spots of white, speckles of black – and occasionally, a hint of green. I’d much rather reside in the open ocean, where you can find variety, color and diversity.
Why? Well, sometimes, I catch myself staring out into the ocean in complete wonder. I struggle to find the boundary on the opposite side of where I am standing – the exact location where the water merges with the land to become a shore. I find a horizon, but can never find the end (or the start, depending on how you look at it).
The root of my fascination with the ocean developed fairly recently. I was in the Virgin Islands, where a local entrusted me with a secret. Our first exchange occurred when he caught my sister and I red-handed – trying to funnel the beach sand into a jar as a souvenir.
“If everyone did that, there would be no sand left to enjoy.”
He said this to us with a smile – a warning disguised as a pleasantry. Yet, I immediately began to feel my cheeks turn red. My sister, unfazed, cautiously emptied the jar back onto the beach, apologized and attempted to undo the damage.
I had expected him to scold us, teach us a lesson, maybe shake his head at us, but instead, he offered as a secret: the name of a beach – supposedly a local favorite, and now, my favorite traveling memory.
My sister and I decided to pay a visit to this beach one day in order to snorkel. I came equipped with anchovies, and a dog bone, which I later pulverized between my hands and spread in the ocean (as directed by the local).
Doing so brought forth an onslaught of fish from every direction – flurries of color. I was caught in a whirlwind of sea life.
It was simply incredible.
Even now, nearly 3 years after my visit to the Virgin Islands, the memory still seems surreal, too good to be true. I often daydream, fall back into periods of deep recollection, and then awake – disappointed, frustrated, and sad when I realize that I am still human: my hands have yet to turn to fins, my lungs to gills. I have skin, but I want scales and I still cannot breath in water.
But who can really blame me for wanting such things?
Being human is certainly a privilege, and I’m ashamed to admit that I sometimes take the air for granted, but I can’t help it.
I continue to grow more jealous of fish with each passing day.