That didn't last long...
The elegant lines of a stingray glided past as my eyes attempted to burn holes in the glass of it’s home, unable to blink away the pain. I felt my mind emptying of all my thoughts and a dark cloud looming, ready to engulf me. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t blink, all I could do was stare.
Dumped. In an aquarium. What the fuck?
I thought the deep was a great idea, I’d never been before but I’ve seen the images online and they look epic, mesmerising scenes of blue and white, filled with an exotic array of fishes from all over the world – a real eye opener for 17-year-old me who didn’t venture too far from home – and my mum let me go! I didn’t get out all that much and she knew how hard I had fallen for Dan and for him to dump me on our date…
The quick swish of the stingray and he / she / they were back around in my line of my sight and this time, I followed them. I watched as their fins moved swiftly and softly through crystal clear blue water, up and down in one fluid motion, caressing the water as it passed, their tail seemingly motionless as it trailed behind them. The stingray titled away from me and it bared their smooth, white underside and I swear I saw a small smile, at least I thought I did, telling me ‘It’s okay mate, chin up’.
Chin up? How can I!? I recognised then that my mouth had been open, chin to chest, gawping away at the Sealife inside this huge tank. I prised my gaze away from the stingray, broken from my daze and noticed that it wasn’t only the stingray in the tank, there were all kinds of fish – big, small, colourful and hidden – they looked like they were talking to each other, intermingling and enjoy themselves almost.
How dare they.
I was supposed to be enjoying myself, with my boyfriend, but I am all alone after he scarpered away when I burst into tears on the bench. I thought there would be more people around with it being the summer holidays, but I think the sun took people outside, onto the beach, not inside with the fishes – maybe that’s why he dumped me? Was I no fun? – he told me it was because he didn’t like me anymore, that I was too young for him and he didn’t want to waste the rest of his summer with me. He was only 2 years older than I was and what did he mean by ‘he didn’t want to waste time with me?’ Was I a ‘waste of time’?
Deep in a thought, my eyes moved aimlessly around the room, and I saw that there were a few people coming in and out of the tunnel aquarium I found myself in, I felt their eyes on me but none daring to approach and ask why a young boy was alone in aquarium with no doubt red and blotchy eyes. I wouldn’t approach me either if I was them, I must have looked desperate and probably scary. I was scared too. How was I supposed to get home when my ride had binned me like the waste I apparently am… My mum told me about heartbreak, she used to cry at all the films she would put on and repeat but I never liked them or understood them until now, it hurts.
And it sucks.
One of my chores at home would be to wash up, something I usually didn’t mind (at least it wasn’t as bad as taking the bins out… that’s my worst chore!) but I remember one time, after my hamster had died, I was washing the dishes and I started crying. I didn’t stop washing the dishes though, I just carried on whilst tears were falling down my face. I felt sad that day, I had never felt that strength of sadness before and I didn’t think I would feel or look as sad as I did then, crying whilst washing up. Until today. The aquarium was my new sink of suds, my new level or supreme sadness, and families were watching me.
The stingray is still in front of me, drifting from my left to my right. I must have been sat there for a good 10 minutes on my own, fresh tears rolling down my face and yet my stingray is still here with me, even if Dan isn’t. Every now and again they would swim upwards and show me a smile, a smile to know that there is still reason to smile. I guess, maybe. It cheered me up anyway, whenever I caught a glimpse of it – the stingray was happy –happy even though they were swimming all my themselves, but they were in their own little world, trying to spread happiness. If a stingray could do it, then so could I! I could be alone, and I could still be happy? Right? Please world tell me!
You’re not fish or stingray or shark, you are Craig, a strong, independent man who needs no man!
I tell myself, internally of course – imagine a young boy, alone and sad, screaming mantras to no one, I would certainly have people talking to me then, and asking if I was okay… likely wouldn’t end well – I didn’t need the world to tell me, I could tell myself. I don’t need anyone but me. I might be alone and stuck in Hull, but I don’t need any more than what I have right now. Me.
I stand up and walk towards the stingray, still smiling but drifting through their steady scenery, I give them a quick smile and under my breath, I say a little ‘thank you’, a thank you for letting me know that it’s okay to be a lone stingray in the big blue sea.
Fuck Dan, fuck his stupid reasons for breaking up me. I don’t want to waste any of my time on him either, the prick.
I awkwardly wiped my tears with the sleeve of my t-shirt, take a big sniff and let out a great sigh.
‘Onwards and Upwards' I say out loud, quoting my mum as I was stroll towards the exit, clueless as to how I was to get home.
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