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Under The Sea This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   As I bravely followed my brother and father into the crystal blue water, my mind continued to replay what that loud, overweight, obnoxious man had said to me the day before. This was my first trip to Aruba and the man thought he would be cute and warn me about the hungry, ferocious sharks weaving through the coral, looking for an innocent snorkler to have as an afternoon snack. Fighting my urge to punch this man in his massive stomach for reminding me of my fear, I decided I would prove my fearlessness by acting eager about the snorkeling trip I was to take with my father and brother the next morning.

Entering the warm water, a shark's favorite water temperature, my imagination took hold of me. I thought to myself, "This is the last time I will have all my limbs attached to my body." Shrugging off this thought, I dove into the water and started putting on my snorkeling gear. As I tasted the salty water on my lips and the water gently rocked my body back and forth, I began to feel safe and protected by this sparkling ocean. My father and brother were swimming toward me and together we began to swim out to our destination.

In order to get to where we were planning to snorkel we had to swim through a small passageway separating the big ocean from the tiny aqua beach. The passageway for me was the Strait of Gibraltar to a people long ago. Going through the passageway I was afraid that I was going to be disappointed by what the ocean had to offer, yet I was excited to explore the unknown.

I imagined I shared the same feelings of the sailors of long ago, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar. I was now out in the big ocean. Adjusting my mask and snorkel on my face I made a dive, and I soon forgot any fear of being disappointed.

Under the water it was as if the fish were welcoming us to their home. The brightly colored fish swam around us as if they were in a beauty pageant and we were the judges. Always picking the winner and watching it swim around with glee, I was trying to manage a giggle but instead received a snorkel full of water, which I quickly blew out. Their size varied from three feet to about one inch. Their variety of colors created an underwater rainbow.

As I snorkeled around by myself, I felt my brother grabbing at my wrist. He was pointing at a school of small squid swimming by and a little ink spot one left behind. I gave an excited shriek through my snorkel which only the world above water could hear. Looking at my brother through my mask, I could see that he was thinking the same thing I was, This is the most beautiful place on the earth.

Above the water you would never notice the labyrinth of coral which you could get lost in it. There was coral of every type and color. Down each path of coral there was a new and exotic creature. We were swimming through a school of silver fish so thick that they looked like a fog, making it difficult to see the coral in front of us. After adjusting to this cloudy condition, we swam over, through, and under coral, finding ourselves deeper in King Neptune's labyrinth. When our lungs began to scream for air we would bring our snorkels to the surface and continue our journey. We did not care about getting lost because we were in heaven, absorbing every detail of the scenery.

My father pointed to his watch and indicated that it was time to head back where my mother was waiting for us. Lingering a bit longer with my new brightly-colored friends in their coral home, I began my trip back to the passageway which separated heaven from reality. Eventually reaching the passageway, I reluctantly swam through to the little aqua beach. I began to feel sad thinking that I would not be able to return to my little underwater heaven because we were returning to Boston the next day.

On the sand of the beach my mother asked me if I had seen any sharks. No, I thought quietly to myself, but a shark bite would have been a reasonable price to pay for a glimpse of the perfect little world. I felt I could relate to the sailor's first crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar who, after having found new treasures, had to return home. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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