The Truth About Sharks

The Dog Days of Podcasting challenge began on Thursday. This is the text of my second episode, which you can hear at The BathtubMermaid

Truth About Sharks

“Shark week starts on Sunday,” I told my partner as we lounged among the smooshed pillows and rumbled sheets of our bed one hot July afternoon.

“How does a woman named ‘Desert Flower’ end up obsessed with sharks,” he asked, his long fingers idly stroking the skin of my arm.

“I don’t know…they’re sleek, they’re graceful, they’re elegant – ”

“They’re vicious – ”

“They aren’t, actually,” I corrected. “Anyway, I met one once.”

“You met a shark?”

I rolled over in bed, propping my chin on my hands and kicking my feet up behind me. “Mmhm. I was nine , and I was at the beach with my cousins.”

“Marina and Estella?”

“No. Nicky and Tony. Anyway, Tony had a raft – nothing fancy, just one of those inflatable pool toys – and the three of us were using it as a kickboard, not really paying attention to where we were, and suddenly we were almost at the ropes and buoys marking the channel.”

“Ropes and buoys?”

“You seriously need to visit the beach more.”

“We live in a landlocked state.”

“Details, details. Yes, ropes and buoys. You’re not supposed to swim past them. We’d drifted pretty far out – the tide was carrying us.”

“No one noticed?” He caught the end of one of my messy braids between two fingers and rolled it back and forth, tugging slightly.

“Oh, people noticed. The lifeguards were blowing their whistles and screaming for us to come in, and Aunt Nunzia was jumping up and down on the beach, a veritable poster child for the tern ‘conniption fit.'”

“So what happened?

“We turned around and started kicking and paddling for all we were worth – three little kids, sprawled across a single raft, in water so deep we couldn’t see the bottom, let alone touch it.”

“Obviously you made it back to shore.”

I pulled my head back, freeing my hair from his possession. “Obviously. Anyway, it felt like forever, but we finally got into shallower water, and the boys were able to touch bottom – they were taller than me – but I couldn’t quite. I held onto the raft and stretched my feet way down and I touched something…”

“Something…?”

“The something I was touching moved past me in the water, and scraped against my skin – it was like swimming past sandpaper.”

“That’s it? That’s your shark encounter? Did you even see the thing?”

“Well, no.”

“Then how do you know it was a shark?”

“Because that stretch of water is a nursery for white sharks.”

“That proves nothing.”

“And because I just know.”

“You do?” He was skeptical.

“Women always know.”

“Uh-huh.”

“No, it’s true. For example, I know that if I kiss you, you always smile.” I did, and he did. “And I know that given half a chance you’ll spend the entire day sleeping, and then complain you got nothing done.”

“That might be true.”

“It is true.”

“It still doesn’t answer the question,” he claimed. “Not really.”

It was also true that when I straddled him and began to kiss him again, he completely forgot whatever question he thought he’d been asking.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 The Truth About Sharks by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.