Aged by the Ocean

I took a breath as the whale dived beneath the churning ocean determined to hold it longer than him. Papa told me to stop being stupid when my face went red, then caved in and pretended to do so too.
We sat in our little boat for almost an hour puffing our cheeks in and out whilst waiting for the whale to surface; I was in tears by then.
“It’s dead, papa!” I wailed.
“Not yet, son.”
“He must be!”
“Not yet,” papa said, but his face disagreed.
When the sea exploded upwards in a fountain of salt water, papa laughed. I didn’t, though. Even when the whale’s flukes tapped the sky and disappeared again, I remained unhappy. I just couldn’t understand that life played out before me as it did every day. No matter how many times an eight-year-old’s told it’s okay down there it just doesn’t sink in. It must’ve been so dark and lonely was all I thought.
I wept again that night when we got home much to papa’s annoyance. I wasn’t sad about the whale anymore, I’d learned that lesson. No, I was just glad it wasn’t me under those tumultuous waves, and couldn’t help thinking that wrong. I soon snuggled down in my bed and forgot about it though. Such is the way when things go unseen, they’re easily dismissed.

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