Author: David C. Nutt
It was good to be back in the Pacific again. Darting through the kelp beds, rolling through the surf, gathering at our sacred rocks. I knew in about 30 days this would wear thin on me. Then it would be back on land. A hike up Shasta, the desert and dawn with a lover, Aspen for some deep powder. Then that would wear thin.
The only thing constant in my life was the stars. When I am in the ocean, from the middle of the pacific, I see them burn bright. On land I climb mountains to be nearer to them. Then back to the sea, and back to the mountains, and then the sea. In both worlds I am no closer to the stars I crave.
Once, while gazing up into the night sky, in the Pacific, a killer whale popped up next to me. I thought that would be it. Too late to react so I just floated there waiting for him to devour me.
Instead, we just floated there. Eye to eye we shared a moment. He rolled over on his side, eye fixed to the stars. We stayed like that for almost an hour, and when the sun started to break over the horizon, we both nodded to each other and went our ways.
A month later I am in San Diego at some cliché college bar. I was attracted to a strange man. I knew something was different about him. I did not let him see me. I followed him. I could tell where he was going, I could sense it… the beach.
He stood on the end of a rocky out cropping. I saw him take off his clothes and fold them to a bundle. I saw him leap to what would be certain death, the tides and surf I knew so well would cut him to ribbons against the reef and rocks. My skin was near by so I slipped it on and went after him, eyes fixed on the spot he would surface. I raced there fast as I could but instead 500 yards out an Orca breached and I panicked. I rolled over and sped back to shore. The Orca followed me and I knew I could not make it. As I leaped to shore, I shed my seal’s skin as the orca devoured it. Skin gone, there was no way back.
I saw the Orca surface just beyond the surf line. He saw me naked, crying on the beach. I cursed him, shook my fist at him, stomped my foot on the sand. The orca buried its head to the waves and began swimming to the beach. At the last possible second, it breached and beached itself with an enormous thud, sliding forward with the last inch of surf. It’s skin split open and the man from the bar burst out, leaving just the skin of the orca which melted away until all that was left was a portion of the dorsal. We stood naked, face to face. He handed me his dorsal and without thinking I took a bite, and then devoured it all. After that we made love.
That was a lifetime ago.
Tomorrow my Orca and I go to the stars. We will stay at the space a station for a month while we train to go to the deep space array. We both know it is a one-way trip but neither of us we can ever be in our oceans again. But that’s OK, for together we have traded the oceans for the stars.