Life As He Knows It

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The Kiss That Changes Everything

“So,” I asked, “Where are we going?” I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought to ask this question earlier. Josh turned and looked at me from the front seat. He shrugged.

“Have you ever been to an aquarium?” Aubrey asked from behind the wheel. I was confused by this. ’What’s she mean by an aquarium? What kind of question is that?

“No,” I said coolly, trying not to show my confusion. Aubrey nodded slightly. “Is that where we’re going,” I asked, “an aquarium?” She just smiled and kept her eyes on the road. Josh chuckled at his sister and looked out his window.

He looked even more depressed and tired than I did.

I wondered why they were running away; they didn’t seem to be the kind of kids who would. Aubrey and Josh looked rich; I could tell their clothing was expensive because mine definitely wasn’t. They also had that ‘rich’ look to them. I couldn’t really explain it; they just screamed money.

They both had blond hair, Aubrey had green eyes and Josh had brown. They also had the same pointy jaw line and sharp noses; kind of like an animal’s. Aubrey held herself with confidence and maturity, whilst Josh was really shy and quiet. Both very different, but complimented each other well.

I wished that I had someone like that, a sibling to look like, but I didn’t. I was the only child in my family, although people sometimes mistook my father for my cousin because of how young he looked.

His hair was the same shade of brown it’s always been and his face was composed of soft and wrinkle free skin. My father’s eyes showed his age. Deep ones that showed all of the life he had gone through. My eyes were blue, and showed nothing but the reflection of the person who has looked into them.

I had my mother’s eyes and my father’s hair, characteristics I will never be able to change or shape into my own, simply my mother’s eyes and my father’s hair. Clara and Max’s son Ben is all I had been and what I thought I was always going to be; until I went off with Aubrey and Josh. ’It’s so hard to be yourself when all people see is other people.’

“We are breaking into an aquarium,” I scream-whispered at my new friends, “Do you know how much trouble we could get into?” Aubrey and Josh looked at each other and shrugged. And then we were climbing through an open window that was just in front of the shark tank.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when a hammerhead swam in front of me. Josh laughed and I felt a blush come to my cheeks again. ’Why am I blushing so much today?

“What time is it?” I asked Aubrey. She took out her phone and checked the time.

“Eleven ‘o-five,” She said and I nodded. ’Maybe I could go home after this? No wait. Don’t be a wimp; this is your life now.’ Josh started to wander, and then Aubrey. I didn’t particularly like the shark tank, so I started to look at some of the other tanks.

Everything was covered in a blue hue from the lighting and water, my hair turn so dark that it looked black and I caught a glimpse of my reflective eyes in the ‘Exotic Fish’ tank.

I started to walk towards seals, but then stopped and looked at one of the biggest tanks that I had seen. It seemed to not have anything in it, but then it swam along past me. It was a gorgeous whale shark that was at least the size of a bus. It had a sleek and black back that was speckled with grey and white, the underbelly was white with greyish tint. Everything about it fascinated me.

The plaque was hard to read, but I managed most of it.

As the largest fish in the sea, reaching lengths of 40 feet (12 meters) or more, whale sharks have an enormous menu from which to choose. Fortunately for most sea-dwellers—and us!—their favorite meal is plankton. They scoop these tiny plants and animals up, along with any small fish that happen to be around, with their colossal gaping mouths while swimming close to the water’s surface. The whale shark, like the world’s second largest fish, the basking shark, is a filter feeder. In order to eat, the beast juts out its formidably sized jaws and passively filters everything in its path. The mechanism is theorized to be a technique called “cross-flow filtration,” similar to some bony fish and baleen whales. –National

And then there was a diagram and more information posted on the outside of the tank.

Fast Facts

Type: Fish

Diet: Carnivore

Size: 18 to 32.8 ft (5.5 to 10 m, about the size relative to a school bus.)

Weight: Average, 20.6 tons (18.7 tonnes)

Group name: School

Protection status: Threatened

Did you know? The largest whale shark ever measured was 40 feet (12.2 meters) long; however, the species is thought to grow even bigger.

I looked back at the whale shark and smiled.

“It’s beautiful,” Josh said from beside me. I was startled by this, for the few hours I had known Josh he hadn’t said something so in depth with emotion before.

“Yeah, it is,” I reply in a soft tone.

“Too bad it’s here though.”

“Waddy’a mean?”

“Well, it’s too bad it’s all locked up in a cage and not in the wild,” he paused and blushed, “and stuff.” I thought that he added the ‘and stuff’ bit to sound like he wasn’t interested, it didn’t fool me. Josh seemed to be a really quiet person and if he was this passionate about things, then he should’ve been more expressive about those things.

“Why did you come with us?” he asked suddenly. I had thought about this, it all seemed crazy that I would leave with them; but why the Hell not?

“I guess it’s because I could,” I said confidently. “I mean, like, people run off to the circus and people hitchhike across country and stuff. So why can’t I leave with two really abnormal people who happened to know me before I knew them. So yeah, why not, why can’t I?”

“We knew you because we live,” Josh paused and looked at the carpeted floor, “lived, next door to you and we heard your parents fighting all about that. And then we heard him leave. I mean, it wasn’t you that made Aubrey and I leave, we were leaving before hand, but then I said that maybe we could bring you along. And yeah...” It seemed like he wanted to say more, but he didn’t. He stayed quiet and looked at the ground.

Why did they leave?’ I was going to ask this, but then Josh looked up and pressed his lips against mine. I was startled and jumped a bit, but I didn’t really do anything after that.

“Oh,” was all I could say after. “Oh.” Josh turned and started to walk the other way, but I grabbed his wrist before he could get very far. “It’s okay,” I said, “I don’t really care.” He turned to face me and his eyes were full of tears.

With the blue tint on everything, and his blond hair and dark eyes, he looked like a ghost; a phantom that came out of horror story. ’A beautiful horror story,′ It was amazing, how you can find someone so beautiful, but you don’t love them.

He really was beautiful, and I knew he wouldn’t want to hear it from me. Not after what had happened.

Josh started to cry and I awkwardly hugged him. The hug wasn’t awkward, but I was. I didn’t know how I felt about him, and I didn’t know how he felt about me. And that was the moment I realized that this was why he had run away. It all because of who was. Aubrey must’ve had her own reason, or just wanted to protect her little brother.

“I’m sorry,” I said. ’I am so sorry for why you had to run. It’s not right.’

Aubrey touched Josh’s arm lightly when she saw us hugging. It was a simple gesture, a simple touch on the forearm. But it was with compassion and love that made it special. I wanted someone to care for me like that; I wanted my dad to care for me like that.

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