I once knew a narwhal; he was debonair, gentle and kind. He travelled from the wide open seas to visit me, he loved to pop in for lunch or afternoon tea. His favourite meals were salad sandwiches, which we would laden with many condiments, it made them all so tasty, and devour two or three would Narwhal, the whole lot of them.
While this narwhal was dedicated to visiting me, he was chasing a certain dream, a certain understanding, and a certain figurative being. He didn’t know who I truly was, deep inside, a broken, shattered little being. But he was drawn to this, to me, somehow he could sense this, with his strong sense of empathy, and perhaps he and I weren’t so different, beneath the surface of his grin, did there lurk a paining so wild and free?
I knew from several conversations that Narwhal’s home life was troubled, he had a sister of the age of thirteen who was going through some monumental changes. The crowd in which she associated herself with were curs and thieves, and every Saturday and Friday evenings she would invite them around to her house, and there they’d plan their future missions with craftiness and ease. Narwhal’s parents disliked their daughter’s friends being in their part of the sea, where they resided somewhat quietly, murmuring thoughts shared over pots of steaming tea, and when the evening arrived, boy, how they were gritting their teeth and were apprehensive, because for their daughter and her friends, what constituted fun was nothing but illegalities and running entirely amok.
Maybe Narwhal escaped this situation by seeing me, he didn’t have anything else to occupy him, except the idea and company of being near and with me. We often sent each other seaweed letters, in which he would sign off his love. This made me uncomfortable but I decided not to say anything, for fear of breaking his heart. Because I knew what it was like to be broken too, smashed into pieces, for feeling something for another being that was not reciprocated by them, an overwhelming feeling of being blue. And if it meant playing along, to allow Narwhal to feel warm and tingly, and then some, I was willing to do so, if it meant he would feel happier about himself, I knew it should be so.
And then the strangest thing: the more time I spent with Narwhal, the more that I began falling for the debonair being that he was, with his sparkling personality, his gentle sense of camaraderie, his notion of what was right and wrong, and how to share in his love that was projected so longingly. I had once only thought of him as a friend, and now, my feelings for this special whale were growing, outright blossoming instead.
Slowly, with growing trust, he began to share with me his inner thoughts and feelings, and my, weren’t they so touching, so beautiful and ponderous, his utterances made my heart become a-fluttering. And then his tales of sadness, of how he longed for a better life, for opportunities to become more than he was, something with substance, more serious, less fun. I was sorrowful at hearing these words, and carefully, gently, would pull him into a hug. This narwhal was a being of whom I was slowly falling in love.
But how could we make it work? He was a sea creature, and I lived here on earth! He could survive for only a few hours upon land with the breathing apparatus on his back, but how could we make a life for ourselves when we were so very clearly different? I couldn’t live beneath the sea, and so too he could not easily breathe the air above land for me. It was a perplexing notion, and it really made me think, but the most I could do was suppress these thoughts, they made our relationship far too much, so serious to think. So it seemed that all we could do would indulge in sandwich visits, and hanging out for a few hours, reading books to one another in my bedroom. We would sit together, so cosy, as I read our favourite novels and magazines. Then would come the saddening time for the end of his visit, and wave me off would he with his little fin, and my heart would ache, oh, how I wished he would come sooner next time, for his next visit again.
One day, I was waiting for Narwhal, he had promised he was going to visit last week, yet I had seen nor heard of anything from him, not a seaweed correspondence to read of nor speak. Usually he was prompt with his letters and responses, he always signed them off with three kisses and two hugs, but now I felt he had drifted away, why? I did not know, perhaps the reason was simply, “just because”. There could be any amount of reasons as to why he had decided to remain in the sea, to no longer visit his favourite human, little old repaired me, for his quiet love had changed me, made me whole again and of this I did know, that Narwhal, my dearest friend, was never again going to show. I could feel it in my bones, a few days ago I had felt the breaking of a type of an emotional cord, as though we were now on own, separated, nothing keeping us together anymore.
The memories we had were precious, and I would keep them in my mind and heart always, but what happened to Narwhal, had he deserted me or been taken, harpooned, or even stolen from the ocean by humans to be tamed? I didn’t want to put a potential label to his apparent desertion, even the thought of his wide brown eyes and smiling face hurt myself so badly I wished we were one and the same. However, it was meant to be this way, I supposed, how could a human girl live with a whale, and the utmost despairing thing about it was, we had fallen for each other, and helped repair the broken parts of one another. Through acceptance and friendship, and emotional moments and times of quiet healing, Narwhal and I were in our own places of solitude and dreaming. Though never again would we meet, I would always recall my pleasant, gentle, debonair Narwhal with the fondest of dreams.
© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.