Catalina was a haven we visited almost every summer. My sister and two best friends: Kate, Sam, Jessie, and I packed up our things, stopped by the grocery store to get some food, and we were on our way to the ocean. The smell of summer was in the air with tanning oil and sun tan lotion. It was a beautiful day to be outside, but on this particular day, all I wanted to do was hide in a closet.
Snorkeling was the next stop. The sport where you put on masks, float atop the water, and observe the fish and creatures below. An enjoyable sport for most people. NOT me. This was not my thing. Fish, were not my thing. But I decided to join in and try the experience.
As I entered the dark blue water, a chill ran up and down my spine. The sense of not knowing what surrounded my body caused the lump to form in my throat and my heart to start beating out of my chest. The taste of salt and seaweed was all that seemed to occupy my taste buds as I was yearning for that breath of fresh air. It was the unknown that was attacking my thoughts and emotions and I was about to experience the worst.
The next thing I knew I was being devoured. The water around me started to splash. Movement was undeniable and there they were. It was fifty of them against me. All of them after the same thing. Food. Sweet corn that was unfortunately laying on me. Sticky smacking lips sucked my skin. My legs, arms, neck, stomach, feet, and hands: all being attacked, with lips. The lips of fish. No, not the pretty tropical fish. I’m talking about the ugly fat disgusting catfish. Huge lips. Long bodies. Whiskers. The whiskers tickled across my skin, it could’ve been a pleasant tickle, but pleasant was the farthest kind of emotion. It was horrifying. I couldn’t breath. My world was ending. It was my worst nightmare.
Was this “Fear Factor”? Was I being Punk’d? Nope, it was the real deal. I had been expecting the worst, and that’s exactly what I got. The best thing I can say is, “At least I tried!” I will hopefully never have to go through that mind-boggling, unreal, most terrifying and disgusting experience again. Fish and I, do not belong together.
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