The Whale Shark

She discovered his animal demon after marriage. A shadow in their ocean cave, an obscure figure pumping bubbles out his gills. The beast drew up powers from the deep, where cobalt blue went true black. 

Her own demons came forth unannounced, after the hookup. His’ waited beneath for years, not needing oxygen to survive.

When a baby, happiness was his native standard, but stale adults scolded from exhausted scripts anyway. He wondered at the beauty of the world, its immensity. Soon, a boy’s adventures clashed against the savage plight for survival. He learned about bullies, dense men, and women, fixed on not enjoying life’s mess.

Delicious, irresponsible days got penniless. The grit from reality. He got the message. Time was not his to spare. An emotional gut churned, as waters yanked him away from the warm beaches of young romance.

In the fight for daily bread, his back muscles clenched the bone, nervous juices scraped inside. He became a talented swimmer nonetheless, able to glide in circles, sniffing in fears, hidden greed, and indolence. He wove convincing words in the undercurrents,  and got his way, leading others to believe they were choosing.

No longer in a fish tank, he had morphed into a river grouper. In time, the man entered the business ocean, as a young shark. Dreams crashed against the stony walls of barnacle-ridden bosses, but the shark pushed on determined, expanding.

His will paid off in size,  grew respectable. Thus, the enlarged animal safeguarded his domain, demanding applause and recognition. He made arrangements. Patrolling his waters, pumping out bubbles, everyone had to attend when the beast exec spoke.

Swaying between the continents of reason and emotion, past fears solidified, and ego set firmly behind murky eyes. Cataracts set in his older days, but he still sensed souls flailing in wide oceans, trying to determine their course.

That’s when would reappear, spiraled up from the deep, weaving currents, persuasion.

For his kin, he learned to sacrifice and gave more of himself than he ever thought possible. When their own demons sailed too hard and too far, his gentle whale nature emerged, keeping vigilance, standing guard, in the vast cobalt sea bed. 

A true beast, a whale shark out of the simple fish bowl; he fit the round peg into a square hole painstakingly, through wit and will. Scathed from battle, his skin turned to stiff rubber. And when the new tides came in, his words surged in echoes, bouncing against the old reefs where we grew up.

We, his children, resolved then to keep alert. Swimming, not flailing, spiraling up steady, towards the sun.