By chance it was during a time when Orca's just happened to be in vogue. Her mother was ecstatic that summer to find water wings shaped liked Orca's. The little girl loved them but she didn't need them for long. She had no fear of the element. She swam. She dove in and learned quickly. Once in she decried getting out. Once out she wished to be back in. The ocean massive and churning was no deterrent. She stood with strong legs against the pounding of the waves. She would dive beneath. Ride them to shore. Catch tiny fish in a bucket and play for hours. She leaned to surf at four. She swam in the pool for hours. Learning to clamp her legs together pushing hard to swim strong and fast, just like a whale. She spent endless summer days being a whale. When on dry land she drew and painted pictures. The majority of the time she drew Orca's. Countless sheets of paper covered with cavorting whales in various poses and even colors. All over her bedroom walls. On her lined notebook paper from school instead of her work. Shoved into folders and crammed into books.
Her parents indulged her desires. Stuffed Orcas. Miniature Sea World Sets complete with an orca family. Books, movies, posters. Even an Orca Trainer Barbie. The piece de resistance a four foot long stuffed Orca that took up most of her bed. The floor of her room was littered with small rubber replica's of ocean mammals of all kinds. Her first day of school in first grade she sported an orca backpack and lunch box. Her mother even threw a themed Birthday party and hand drew a Pin the Fluke on the Orca game. As she grew her shelves were populated with sea life and Wyland collectibles. The stuffed Orca Pod grew to an astounding size.
And then one day The Girl Forgot.
Her world became populated with music and friends. She took up cello and string bass. She began to write. She began to draw more seriously and was found to be a fine artist. But not whales. Never whales. One day her mother found several bags in the hall closet and looking in found it was a burial ground. A tomb of orca's and porpoise. Going into the girls room she found it nearly bare of sea life. Stacks of books and music and art supplies. Her eye reached to the highest corner of the room in the farthest niche of a shelf and saw, only Keiko. A triumphant find years ago with his stuffed body sporting his flopped over dorsal. Lowering her eyes she found just a small group of tiny trinkets left. Still a huge fan of Wyland an underwater sculpture survives and a snow globe sporting a jumping Orca, a gift from her Grandparents, are lost amid the clutter of many interests.
The little girl no longer swam. She refused the pool saying she was tired of swimming. She shed her beach girl persona. Would no longer surf or snorkel. She said she didn't like the sand. Didn't wish to be in the sun. She was an artist. The artistic should lounge in cool darkened rooms thinking deep thoughts and contemplating melancholy moments. Her abilities backed up this choice. She hates science. The first three years of high school she systematically refused to do well in it. She botched Biology. Spaced out in Earth Space. Refused to mix with Chemistry.
And then. During her senior year she had two choices. One of them, Physics, sounded like a lot of work to her. But, there was an alternative. Marine Science. Easy, she could blow through that with ease. And she did.
And in the process she remembered.
She began to check books out of the library again. Refinding old scientific hero's and discovering some new ones. For the first time in years she came home from school buzzing with something she learned in an academic class. She tells her mother about giant octopus and evil squid. About the habits of puffer fish and the life of the mollusk. Somehow the mind that rejected her past dreams awoke. The class took a field trip to Seaworld and the girl was excited for weeks. When they arrived she strode to the Orca Tanks ready to plant herself there and absorb. The exhibit was closed. And the girl cried. Embarrassing herself but unable to stop she sobbed. She finally consoled herself by buying the biggest stuffed Orca she could find and hanging out with the Beluga's for awhile.
Now her thoughts are topsy turvy as though being pummeled by the waves. It would be a harder road because of the knowlege she denied when she lost her way. She would have to work very hard to put herself into just the starting place for this dream that a Little Girl had. She will be an artist there is no question of that but perhaps she will do more. Perhaps she can combine the two. She always did as a child. Why not now? I tell the girl that it is never too late to at least try for a dream. Whatever direction she ultimately takes there is one thing for sure.
The Young Woman Has Returned to The Sea.
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