Shipwrecks and fishes

By Jordan Yablansky

Dear My Future Self,

I know that right now you are filled with self-doubt. That you struggling to find what is right and what is wrong. That you are stuck in this fork in the road of life. That you are weighing the pros and cons of each option in your head, our head. That you need someone to talk to but, no one seems to quite understand. But I do. Who knows you better than me, who is also you. So just take a deep breath, and remember this moment in our life.

“Jordan! Hold on to me tight! Don’t let go!” We listened to dad and deepened our grip around his waist. Our heart was racing and our mind was bustling with thought.

 We were trying to keep our eyes open despite the salt water jumping up and splashing our rosy face. We were going so fast but, we had to go faster. We looked far ahead into the distance at the other travelers on the deep, blue ocean. We then looked behind us to see a few others lagging and the island disappearing. Everything was moving so quickly, like we could focus on one thing for a second, then suddenly that moment was gone. It was all a blur of blue and green.

 “Drive it like you stole it!” rang in our head as the wind had our red hair whipping around our face. The machine flew up into the air and crashed back down over a huge wave. Then a second later we had to make a sharp turn. Our bottom half suddenly started slipping off the seat as we desperately clung onto dad to not be flown off. Life was moving fast and the unexpected kept occurring. We were trying to keep up and not get put off track.  We used our strength to pull our self back onto the black material.

Then we slowed down and gathered around the instructor, listening to him about the history of the spot we stopped. Remember how cool we thought his accent was?

“Here we are in the Bermuda triangle right over a shipwreck occurring over 100 hundred years ago.” His voice was loud so everyone on the tour could listen. We quickly looked below, and underneath our feet was a sunken, wooden ship torn apart from the elements.

We couldn’t help but think of the people who were traveling on the ship. They were off to a new adventure to a place they’ve never been before, much like us. We came to Bermuda on a boat, and we were also looking for a new adventure. We couldn’t even fathom the horror of a ship sinking. Would it be like “Titanic” where the ship splits in half and only one person could fit on a piece of wood, would we be Jack? The travelers were looking for a new way of life, whether they were bored of the usual or had to escape from a problem at home. That is something we could relate to. But, whatever the reason, we were sure they were aware of the possibilities and took the risk of traveling, without the true thought of failure in their mind. We were deep in thought when we suddenly got brought back to reality from the instructor’s voice.

He then proceeded to tell us where a piece of bread was inside the jet ski and that we could feed the fish below us. Dad found it and then ripped it in half for the both of us. He then kept saying how awesome this whole experience was and we couldn’t disagree. He pointed out where most of the fish were and we turned that way to feed them.

The fish kept popping up out of the water trying to catch a piece, everyone wanted to get a piece of the pie. It almost looked like “Whack-a-Mole”. We could see the whole school of them underneath the clear, blue water. They were mostly a rusty gray, all different sizes but mostly not bigger than a bunny. But there were also a few different types of fish that ranged in colors and size. We tried throwing the bread everywhere so none of the fish would go hungry despite the fact they probably got fed like this a few times a day. We just kept feeding and watching the fish which seemed to resemble us.

They needed food, and they’d do anything to get it. It was necessary for survival.  Just like humans.  Humans would do anything for money. Go to college, go straight to work, play sports, gamble, sugar daddy, anything. Some people are daredevils and take risks for money. It was the way to survive in the world. Little humans jumping up to get money from the big man. Little fish jumping up to get food from the big man.

We wished our life was as simple as the fish. They didn’t care about college, money, or whether the guy they were talking to liked them. All they cared about was finding food, not getting caught by a fisherman, and having the species survive. We could relate about following in school, finding food, trying to not die, and maybe even procreating. But, we couldn’t relate about having only that to worry about that essentially. For us, all of those had a more complex task in our human world.

It was strange though. The fish were taking the risk of swimming towards humans on machines to eat some food. Weren’t they nervous that maybe we were fisherman? Did they not think that the bread was bait to lure them into a net? Or maybe even that the bread was poisonous? How could they trust us so easily? As little children we are told to not take candy from a stranger, wouldn’t the fish at least have a clue to be wary of humans with bread? How could they be so reckless while aware of the risks?

After a few minutes, we were told that if we were brave enough we could jump off the jet skis and swim with the fish over the shipwreck. A couple of people jumped off, others like us, were wary.

“Come on, Jordan! You can do it! Just jump! It’s once in a lifetime!” Dad kept cheering us on. He has always been cheering for us. Even when we could only get on base by getting walked at softball. Dad is someone we can always count on. But we just kept shaking our head warily. We wanted to. We really wanted to jump in. We have never feared the water. Uncle Bruce threw us into his pool to teach us how to swim. We don’t eat fish but we had 3 goldfish as pets. We even went snorkeling with these fish the day before and we were face to face with them, so close that we could almost see into their gulping mouths. And we were nowhere near touching the wood of the ship and getting a splinter. But for some reason we were scared.

What if a shark came up out of nowhere? What if we got caught in the tide and nobody could save us? Our biggest fears are drowning and suffocation. What if we did in fact manage to get a splinter from the shipwreck? What if the fish bit us?

Dad kept pushing us to jump saying how these adventures were nothing we’ve ever been afraid of before. That is true. We did go cliff diving at Action Park, the world’s most dangerous water park. We also rode first row on Kingda Ka at Six Flags. And that same day at Six Flags we did the Dare Devil Dive, which was falling from a bungee cord about 15 stories above the ground, as fast as 60 mph. All these thoughts flooded our mind. Dad was right, what were we waiting for? So, we swung our leg around him and jumped off the jet ski.

We sank into the water but immediately popped back up thankfully for the life vest. Even then we kept bobbing up and down and getting face full of water from the lapping waves. It took a few tries but we did eventually get a breath in. We saw dad jump in after us. Soon, everyone else was leaping off their jet skis.

Then suddenly we relaxed, and we focused in on the current events around us. The good feelings. The water was warm. The sun was beating down on our skin.

And the shipwreck was still there just like it was before. It will always be looming under the ocean but most people tend to ignore it like us, and just keep swimming above it.

And the fish didn’t stop living either. We felt them swimming past our legs to where they thought there was more food or maybe just following their school. We just kept swimming around them and watching, seeing what move they’d make next. They’d swim past the shipwreck into the endless ocean.

And to truly notice and appreciate this in all its beauty, all we had to do was relax and breathe.

It was time to get back onto the jet skis to go back to the island where our family was waiting. Once again, we were hanging on to dad trying to not get flung off into the abyss. The instructor wished us a great rest of the vacation and we saw mom waiting to ask the most common questions. As much as we fight with mom, we can also always rely on her.

How could we explain our mind to someone who hasn’t experienced what we just did? We had the experience of a lifetime. It seemed of endless possibilities. It was an adventure we could never forget. Everything was perfect and nothing could go wrong. Is this how the shipwreck travelers felt before crashing? If they have never gotten on that ship they wouldn’t have died like that. How about the fish while seeing bread being fed? If they haven’t taken the bread then they’d possibly go hungry.

 “So, how was it?” Mom’s face was lit up.

We remembered how the instructor told us to phrase what had just happened. It was short and simple. And it got the point across. And I know that for us it is always hard to pick out the most important thoughts flying around in our head, and then say them directly but, it is important for us to do that.

“I just went jet skiing in the Bermuda triangle and swam with the fish I fed over a shipwreck.”

And now this is the phrase we tell everyone about our trip to Bermuda. And that phrase has a much longer story behind it. All our choices have much deeper meanings behind it. We are constantly weighing our meanings and thoughts. Making a list of pros and cons. And sorting out what to do with our choices is what drives our insanity. It’s what keeps us awake at night. It’s why mom got us the anti-anxiety oils and humidifier. We must weigh the risks which may seem heavier than the rewards. Our head is at constant battle with itself, each side battling to make what seems like the right choice. But remember this moment of our life we just relived, which was heavier, our risk or our reward?

Jordan, please remember that I am your number one fan. I am always rooting for you. You are stronger than you think. You will get through this.

Love, Your Past Self