“So the guy sat next to me in the boat points and says, ‘see that there basking shark. Twenty foot long but wouldn’t hurt a fly’.
“Which was all very well and great except, trouble is, there was no basking shark there. It was just a dark patch on the sea, a cloud shadow. It was drifting along slowly, kinda like a basking shark I guess. And the waves were a bit fin shaped so I kept thinking they were dolphins and then realising they weren’t. But the guy seemed sure there was a basking shark out there.
“‘Got to cut our wake,’ as if it would bother a twenty foot shark, ‘and keep our distance’. I mean he was more talking to himself at this point but the guy driving the boat did slow down a bit and kept parallel to the shadow for a few seconds. Then just carried on.
“No one said anything. I kinda felt for the poor guy.
“Anyway, point is that your eyes can play tricks on your brain and your brain can play tricks on your eyes. You want to see something badly enough then you’ll see it.
“Years ago, I knew this girl. Her name was Sue and like the song I bet she knew just what to do. But I sure as hell didn’t. I was proper crazy for her, really wanted her and wanted her to take away my loneliness – understand me, love me, you know…
“And she was lovely to me. Really lovely in a kind way. But I saw that loveliness as if it was love. And once I got convinced I’d seen love in her eyes I couldn’t unsee it. Whatever else she said or did, it didn’t matter. She must love me because I wanted her to and I’d seen it in her eyes.
“So one day, she wanted to buy shoes at the market and I said I’d go with her. She was trying these red heels on and had to lean on my shoulder while she fastened them. I could see right down her top. I thought she wanted me to see her breasts and that was what it was all about.
“Well of course, obviously she didn’t. She just wanted to try on shoes.
“I didn’t do anything, or say anything but maybe she could tell from my breathing. I dunno.
“So she stood up tall and said, ‘would you be a love and just hold my arm so I don’t topple’.
“Holding her arm was still quite nice. And I got to hold her hand as we walked through the market. She let me. So we didn’t get separated in the crowd.
“Now Sue is somewhere else just like she planned I guess. I am still here. And I imagine you want to listen to me talking on, but I am wiser now and know that maybe you don’t. I’m not going to get too upset if not.
“But I’ve still never seen a basking shark. And I don’t want to see one and then have no one to tell. So I’m going on a little trip. I’ll be out of touch for a while. But then I plan to come back with a story to tell of sharks and boats and things found in the ocean.
“So if you’re not going to be here when I get back, please tell me now.”