Seahorses riding the waves

We were about to sit down for lunch with my grandaunt and granduncle when my mother said:

"Did you know seahorses were fish?"

My brother and I started to roll up our eyes.

"Seahorses? They’re invertebrates, mum! Wherever did you hear that?"

"On the radio this morning. They called them fish. It did sound weird, though."

"They’ll just say any crap on the radio." My brother called my granduncle, who’s reputation as a walking encyclopedia is well established in the family. "What are seahorses, anyway? They can’t be fish!"

"I think they are fish, he said. Did you leave the Internet on, Cécile?"

I had. I had wanted to make him proud (and show off a bit, yes) by showing him my first ever online academic publication. My article was still on full screen. We called Google to our rescue and swiftly found the page on seahorses.

Well. Seahorses are fish. They’re not even, like, a truly uncommon order of primitive fish or something. They’re part of the most widespread suborder of fish in the world. And yes, they do have fins. And fishbones, and everything. Only a weird-looking head to fool people who don’t look past appearances, and beyond-the-hypest-postmodern males who incubate the eggs in their bellies. Otherwise, they’re just plain, 100% genuine, homegrown-with-fresh-farm-ingredients fish, going about their buisness and proving the world that even fish have a right to be different. And they made my brother and I look stupid.

But then after that we had a walk on the beach, along the waves. Rolling, howling sprays of crashing sea, turquoise and white, battling in all directions at once when the currents met the coast in different points, bursting rolls of foam and melted wind inside walls of water. We stayed for a while, watching the currents swell, and ever so glad that our 88-years-old grandaunt still makes us look like fools when we try to help her up the steep path and she just brushes up aside and strides ahead of us, still laughing from that story she told us about a woman who had passed before her in a queue pretexting that the was a respectable elderly lady of seventy-one, and refused to believe our grandaunt when she told her her age. The waves still licked the rocks when we went back to the appartment, happy and giddy from the sea air, still thinking of seahorses.


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