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You know what to do

to keep the dream alive

By Salomé SaffiriPublished 3 years ago 6 min read

What makes an experience real? A true happening, raw emotion not bound by the body- what proof can there be that it was real?

You have dreamt to visit this hotel for so long and after twelve hours on the commercial, and four on the charter plane, after an hour and a half by boat you have finally made it. The room loos like a tunnel, with clear domed ceiling. You have always wondered how it can handle so much pressure from the water above, but actually being here makes you forget about this silly musing. Stunned, you run your palms over the smooth walls, standing on the tippy toes to reach the ceiling, you twirl and laugh - You are here, under the Indian Ocean, in the hotel in Maldives.

Leopard shark

You look around, taking in every detail, greedily sucking in the visuals: Stingrays swim above you, a leopard shark floats by- Gosh, it's gorgeous! You wish you could grab it's tail gently and float right behind, accompanying it on an adventure. You drum your fingers at the hoards of yellow fish- this is excellent! Sunrays penetrate through the water painting light doilies on the floor and you dance on them laughing, because who is to tell you otherwise?

A whale shark

You fall backwards on my luscious soft bed, arms spread out. Your eyes wander to the left, where a clump of hair-thin seaweed is brushing against the glass wall. Is that a clown fish you just saw? You notice a small booklet on the nightstand by your bed. Inside is a list of fish next to checkboxes and a tiny pencil to mark off the fish that swam by to inspect you. You briefly wonder if the fish have their own tiny booklets to check out the variety of people, who come to observe them. Smiling, you shake your head at such silly thought and look over to the right.

Comet Fish

The sight startles you: A gigantic shark is floating right outside the glass wall looking in. It can't be.. Can it? You sit up and look inside the booklet: A whale shark, huh? You get up and slowly inch closer to the glass, in order not to spook it. You must look ridiculous, all hunched over, moving as fast as a snail with your arms spread out, but the shark is not deterred. Instead, it is quite curious: It wakes in the water currents, trying to look at you with one eye. You straighten up, suddenly aware that it is not scared of you and you aren't scared of it. In fact, what better opportunity will you ever have to come face to face with this gentle giant. Out of the corner of your eye you notice another whale shark, smoothly floating up to your wall. What are the odds?! You press your nose to the glass and watch the corals, growing around the outside base of your room. They are thick and healthy, some look like prickly sponges, some- like tiered castles and each has a swarm of tiny fish racing in and out of it. The second whale shark levels with you and you look into its small glassy eye. To think- these prehistoric predators that barely changed over the millennia have come to inspect you. Now you notice a new kind of shark that is changing it's course having seen you. Checking with the booklet you identify a blacktip reef shark- bewildering!

Blacktip Reef Shark

What is happening here! Aren't you just the luckiest person in the whole wide ocean to receive such attention in one day. The reef shark's face looks angry, even though you know that it's just a predatorial evolution, you can't help, but humanize it. It's golden eyes reflect the sun, it's movements are quick and jerky and you know that you have peaked it's interest. You step back a bit, just in time to see a wide blanket of stingray landing on the ceiling of your room. Your jaw drops. Is this hotel spreading fish pheromones or something? From the deep, scaring away a stream of blue and yellow groupers, heading straight to the wall of your room, swims out a grey reef shark. Now this one really does look like a "classic" shark to you. For a moment you wonder how thick are these glass walls and taking another step back you sit down on your bed.

Grey Reef Shark

The two whale sharks change places, and switch sides trying to get a better look at you. Unbelievable. Deciding in favor of not being embarrassed by your actions ( because who is to judge you but these fish) you raise your hand a wave at the sharks. It stirs them. they move, they swim up and down, opening and closing their jaws. You notice their gills and for a moment you are mesmerized by the evolution, by nature itself and you wish you could touch the sharks' fins just for a second, to feel how coarse it is. You hear gentle tapping on the glass behind you. Despite the general warm temperature in your room an ice-cold sweat surfaces on your skin and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Here it is- the ancient, the subconscious, manifesting in the flesh. Your instincts perk up and everything inside screams for you to run. You can hear your heartbeat pumping and resonating in your ears as two eyes are boring into your back.

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Slowly, barely breathing you turn on your bed to witness a rare and majestic Scalloped Hammerhead. It is bumping its head into the glass wall, trying to get your attention. Oh, it has succeeded. Confused, you wave at it too and it does a rollover for you. You look down on your hands, slap your face a little, give your arm a pinch- no, you are not asleep. You look around and see gorgeous black fish scattered around your capsule hotel. They look like midnight sky and you don't care anymore about crosschecking them with your booklet. Maybe, for the first time in your life you experience a true state of awe before the nature and everything in creation. Ribbons of Honeycomb Moray eels dance for you, caressed by the gentle blades of flat, translucent seaweed.

Honeycomb Moray Eel

Schools of vermillion seabass float effortlessly over your ceiling, their blue dots shimmering. You feel tears prickle your eyes what unbelievable beauty! You don't want to touch them anymore all you want is to give them space, freedom, reefs, food- whatever they need to just survive and to be alive. Your hearts beats like jungle drum- who will ever believe you? Silver cascades of Island Trevally fish glimmer by and you take a deep breath. You breathe in so deep, so hungrily as if it was your last breath on earth. You close your eyes and when you open them you find yourself outside.

You are in the water and the sharks are surrounding you. Not aggressively, but with curiosity. You can't see yourself, your limbs are just an unconscious part of you, keeping you afloat as if you were a fish. And maybe.. you are? You feel the warm water on your skin, feel your body moving in tact with the water currents. With one eye you see the twirling eels, engulfed in their mesmerizing dance, with the other eye you see myriads of fishes and now familiar gaze of sharks. And you finally realize why they look at you so. You- are the Ocean. You are the sharks, the eels, you are the reefs and seaweed, scallops and anemone. You are the part and the whole of this system: If you breathe- it breathes, if you die.. It dies. Your heart clenches so tight in your chest as you realize the grave injustice. You can taste the oil spills and feel exhausted from overfishing. Your body suddenly feels heavy and tired as ribbons of plastic creep up and tie you down. You can't breathe.. you can't breathe!

Suddenly you are back in your room and you know just what to do. Don't you?

short story

About the Creator

Salomé Saffiri

Writing - is my purpose. I feel elated when my thoughts assume shapes, and turn into Timberwolves, running through the snowbound planes of fresh paper, leaving the black ink of their paw prints behind.

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    Salomé SaffiriWritten by Salomé Saffiri

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