by Luisa

Sharks don’t swim backwards. They are your favorite animals. This inspired me to do some research: Sharks are the only fish that can’t swim backwards. If you pull a shark backwards by its tail, it will die.

When we met in beautiful Bali, you were so excited about your holidays and could hardly wait to see your brother again. We were enjoying a delicious dinner in a beautiful backyard in Canggu. Colorful lanterns were swinging gently in the air, illuminating the hidden oasis, close to the bumpy and noisy main road. After ordering our curries at one of the local food booth called Warung, we sat down and started talking. Your eyes sparkled when you talked about your upcoming diving trip. You are an experienced diver, but it was going to be your first time diving in Bali and you were so excited about sharing  this passion of yours with your brother. I must admit,  diving has never been on my wu-hu list. I have trouble popping my ears after a flight or even sneezing too hard. Just the thought of diving several meters scares me. I  do, however, share your passion for the sea, moving through the waves, feeling the water slide through my fingers and cocoon my body.

We decided to continue our journey together, since we both just arrived on the magnificent island and shared our no plan is the best plan mentality.

After relaxing for a few days and getting used to street food and too much Bintang, we ended up inland. Here it was much more peaceful. While we were walking through the rice fields, watching old men with triangular shaped hats working in the fields, I noticed you weren’t as chatty as usual. More minutes passed while we walked silently next to each other till I heard your «hrumph«. I glanced at you, questioningly. You took a deep breath and explained that your brother had just texted that he would have to cancel his trip. «He won’t make it« you added sadly. You seemed devastated, so I tried to distract you by pointing out the beautiful surroundings – the deep green of the rice fields, bright and fragrant flowers by the wayside and the sound of children laughing while playing with their kites in the fields.

You said that you were thinking of canceling your trip and flying back to the US since the only purpose for this vacation was for you to spend it with your brother. I did understand your disappointment, but in no way did I support your way of thinking. 

Sharks don’t swim backwards, remember?

I tried to play the your brother wouldn’t want that card as well as well it’s better to be miserable at the beach, drinking fresh coconut water than being stuck in an airplane for more than 20 hours again card.

You listened, but didn’t respond. Also like a shark, it seemed like you were swimming in a circle, orbiting around your options.

The next morning, I was happy to see that you were still there, sleeping in the wooden bunk bed next to me. Happy that you responded a numb whatever to my announcement that we were going to do a hiking trip the following night, trying to catch the sunrise on a volcano nearby. 

That day, while relaxing at the pool, we met a Dutch girl. I told her about our – well –  my plans and she responded in a beautiful rusky voice «I’m in«. It turned out that a guy from California overheard our conversation and looked at us with curiosity. «You wanna hike up a vulcano? I guess thats something one should do in life« I yelled over to him and added «We are going to leave at 2 a.m.«. He laughed and said «I guess sleep is overrated«.

A few hours later, the four of us shared an incredible experience climbing the volcano in the darkness. You laughed because I almost got a stiff neck from staring at the stars. «I don’t even mind if I’ll see the sunrise. I’ve never seen a night sky like this« I said excitedly. You smiled and said, «Girl, you should come to Cally« and we silently walked on. The sun started rising as we were about to reach the top. We sat down on the ashy ground, sweating under several layers of shirts and pants since we weren’t prepared to experience anything other than sunshine and heat in beautiful Bali. But getting all of my clothes dirty at once and sweating and freezing at the same time was totally worth it. We shared a unique experience – a sunrise that engraved itself into my memory.

You left one day later, and I wasn’t sure whether you decided to fly home or not. But I was happy that we added this adventure to your vacation. A couple of weeks later, I was standing at a beach bar on the Gili Islands, ordering a fresh coconut when I heard a «hrumph«, followed by a «I do know these earrings!«. I turned around, and looked into your bright eyes. 

I guess you are more of a shark than you thought you were. You did swim forward, and I admire you for that.

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