The truth is, perhaps a vacation at this time was just too extravagant for a newly married couple. This would be our last time, however, sans responsibility, kids, everything. So we went.
Turks and Caicos is a glorious tropical island- white sand beaches, clear azure water, magenta and golden flora. The day was hot, and my sunburned shoulders begged for a respite from the scorching rays. Feeling adventurous, Kyle and I chose to head down to the ocean, masks and snorkels in hand. Everything that we wanted to see, the hotel tour employee alleged, was a quick walk down the beach…just over a mile. Feeling no desire to further distress our sweltering skin, we both dove in right there. I blinked under the water, the mask jammed on my face, squeezing at my cheeks and forehead. I saw the submerged granules of sand first. Just as above the sea, they were colorless. The pallid slivers of coral and shells blended in with the naturally ashen underwater landscape. No fish swam by; no seaweed grazed my thighs as I kicked at the waves ferociously, trying to find something, anything to grab my interest.
A flash of color caught my eye and I spun around sharply. Kyle, a broad smile on his masked face, tried to pinch me under the water. We both surfaced, and agreed to go back to shore momentarily. I watched him swim away, diving deep to the bottom, then popping up, blowing the water out of his snorkel, remarkably like a narwhal.
Trying to kill a little time before my infantile husband finished playing, I looked around a little further. The sight of my wrinkled fingers in front of my face prompted me to stand- definitely time to go. I scanned the surface of the water for any sight of Kyle, and instantly saw his yellow snorkel gliding along, cutting through the sapphire waves. Suddenly, I was speechless.
People have told me that when something awful is about to occur, it is difficult to find the words or actions that would be appropriate for the situation. So was the case when I looked upon the ten-foot-long shadow that crept alongside my husband. Frozen in a state of complete panic, I wanted to warn Kyle of the monster directly next to him. I wanted to protect him from impending doom, but to no avail. Hell, I just wanted to move. However, I just stood there, my feet buried in the sand, like some sculpture, bronzed in fear.
Kyle must have seen the colossal fish just after I set my eyes upon it. I observed the two: nose-to-nose, man and beast, predator and undersea victim. I watched my husband struggle to the surface, gagging on the rubbery mouthpiece. His mask covered in a cascade of water, he kicked and hurtled himself away from the creature in his midst. I saw one of his flippers take to the air toward where I was standing, a gull soaring through the cobalt heavens. I was astonished by the sudden agility of this football-player-sized man. How he was able to nearly run atop the water, I’ll never know- they say that when one’s life is in danger, unbelievable phenomena are far more likely to occur.
The screaming man running into the water finally stole my attention away from the dire scene transpiring only a few feet away. Sprinting and waving his arms wildly, I could barely understand the words that this gentleman was shouting. As he ran closer to where Kyle was, his words became more clear. “It’s JoJo! It’s JoJo!” My eyes shifted upward from the sight directly in front of me. All of the children, as well as their parents, workers, and even the lazy beach-goers had happily run to the waters edge, trying to get a glimpse at Kyle’s “monster”: JoJo, the beloved dolphin, famous in all of Turks and Caicos for his playful and friendly disposition.
Perhaps next time we’ll read the brochure.