Dolphin Kisses
Loren. Age 13. Doylestown, Pennsylvania

The first steps are filled with joy and fear. My feet shake under me, making it impossible to walk. Ridiculously, I stumble around to the window. The grainy blue carpet of the hotel room rubs against my toes. I look down —from the twenty-seventh floor balcony—on the Dolphin Cay of Atlantis. The water is calm; except for a few splashes and bubbles, there is no movement.

We –I and the other four members of my family—slowly make our way down to the pool. I can’t believe that no one else is here. We must be the first people on the whole island awake. At the pool, we find our wet suits waiting for us. The rough, rubbery fabric clings to my body like a bear giving me a hug. Zipping, I am secured into my suit. My goggles slip on my head, the mask suctions to my face and slowly steams up from my breath. The mouth piece is tightly clenched between my teeth.

“Ready?” Rob asks. Zipped up and ready to dive, I nod my sign of approval and slide off the edge and into the pool.

I hold my breath and dive underwater to find the lost flipper I don’t know falls off my foot. But as soon as I duck my head under, I am then cognizant that Blu, the dolphin, is coming up with it hooked around his nose. He flips it in the air towards me and nudges my cheek with his nose as if he is kissing me.

A boogie board floats past me in the water, and I grab on just to give my legs a little break. As I jump on, Blu starts unexpectedly swimming towards me again. I lie nonchalantly on the board when he nudges my foot. Suddenly, we gain speed. I realized that in front of me the water is separating, forming little waves and breaking apart in the spot I am headed towards. Pumping, Blu’s tail smacks the water, up and down, up and down, repeatedly for long enough that I am finally able to gather my thoughts together. Is this supposed to happen? Why does everybody look so surprised? How long will it last? I feel like I am on a Slip ‘n’ Slide.

I coast through the water, non-stop, but then we slow. The edge of the pool is getting nearer. Does Blu know that we’re about to crash? When will we stop? Now every time I am scared, I think of how fun the outcome may be. All I can think is, “Why was I so scared?” That was some of the most fun that I had ever had in my life! The last steps are not filled with fear, no not fear, but joy: more joy than ever before. My feet no longer shake and it is possible to walk again.

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