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In The Mouth of The Whale This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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I sat on an uneven tooth that bit into the flesh of my legs; the roof of the cavernous mouth loomed above, threatening to chomp down at a moment’s notice. This was the mouth of the whale, my private place for personal reflection. A place where everything was symbolic, where nothing happened by chance. Protected by massive rocks and surrounded by deep waters no one could disturb my tranquility.

I turned to the rocks to my right. In a small cavity on the tooth was a pool of water where a spider lay dying. He flailed his small, hairy legs once or twice weakly then his grew still. I assumed the worst. During my lifetime of arachnophobia I had slain hundreds of his cousins, I was a feared figure in the order of araneae. I turned and watched the sea as it flowed over my feet.

A few minutes later my curiosity drew me back to the pool. The spider now stood proudly by the waterside, defiantly he flung drops of dew from his legs. I may have judged this spider too early; I set my anti-spiderist tendencies aside for a moment so I could focus on what it had to teach. I watched the spider intently as it cleaned itself. His legs worked furiously to rid itself of water. Every minute or so it would move a few inches; regaining his bearings as he continued his cleaning. He turned and faced me for a second before he flipped around and began his long journey out of the mouth of the whale. He scuttled in and out of depressions, over rocky outcroppings thousands of times larger than himself, sidestepping pebbles half his size until he reached the whale’s stony lips. Then he turned around one more time. His many eyes took one last look at me, my body reflected and compounded a hundred times in its vision, before he disappeared forever.

I sat and meditated; my only thought the sound of the ocean, the biting of the rocks was forgotten and the sand had long since warmed. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale… then I understood.

The spider was me. I had been drowning in a deep polluted pool for half a year. As I sunk deeper and deeper into its fathomless depths I began gasping for air. All I had found, for months and months, was the polluted drink that had been my prison. It burned as it passed through my throat but it burned so good. As I gulped the drink down it had corrupted me from the inside out, it had destroyed me. Then one day I washed up on the shore of the pool. I coughed and coughed, blind and soaked. But slowly I cleaned myself off, regained my focus, detoxified my body. It was not an easy task. Before I stumbled into the mouth of the whale I was a shell of who I had once been. I could not enjoy my day-to-day life. Once I had the ability to look adversity in the eye and laugh in its face, I was able to make light of the worst situations and cheer up others even in my worst depressions. I’d often cheer myself up in the process. But then I began to drown in that toxic pool and every little misfortune became a cataclysmic life-shattering torment. My friends couldn’t stand me anymore (I don’t blame them, I wasn’t being myself). They were used to a man who took abuse with a smile, not a sad sack of sorrow draining all positive vibes from a room. They wondered why the man who was once able to achieve whatever he set himself to, who could leap over every hurdle thrown before him, was now a doormat unable to assert his wants and needs. I was a wet wanderer without direction. But I found my way into the mouth of the whale. I explored its rough edges and learned its many lessons. I was reborn on its rough, wet, sandy tongue. But there was one more lesson I had to learn. I was the spider. It was time to leave the mouth of the whale, reborn.





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