Deep in the green Irish Sea, somewhere between the Doolin Dock and Inis Oir, she barrel-rolls for no one and nothing.
“Eh! Eh! Eh! Eh! Ah!” She tells her best pun to the sea cucumber—more of an acquaintance than a friend, even after seven years of how-do-you-dos and dirty jokes. Larry barely even undulates. Or she thinks his name is Larry, he’s just such a dud. She chirps out one lonely laugh. Tough crowd.
She surfaces with a lazy slow-mo backflip. Only the seagulls see the cascade of glistening emeralds she brings to light and deposits drop by drop back to their source. But the seagulls soar on like vacant kites.
“Peasants! Commoners!” she screams upon deaf ears with squelching blowhole vents.
“And where are the clouds?!” She screams at the sky. “It’s fecking Ireland. It’s not supposed to be sunny!”
She dives back down into the sea, into memory. Those fat-headed soccer hooligans, pouring Tullamore Dew down her blowhole. The woman whose back she broke. Just a moment of lost control. That puss-sack of a cyst of an arsehat construction worker who stabbed her with rebar. She didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that.
The pale, pox-ridden tourists with their cameras, objectifying her. Their splashing and kicking making her home a sonic warzone. Their foul-smelling children trying to swim with her, to touch her.
The North. The South. The eternal ocean she used to range with her pod. Her pod. How could she have lost them? How could they have left her? She had never been an easy dolphin to be with. She was never a good or willing breeder. And perhaps she had bit and bucked through too many mating seasons, slapped a few too many males with her flippers.
She glides beneath the Cliffs of Moher and scoffs at their majesty. “You’re not special! You’re just rock and bird shite and an accident of geology!”
She swims on and on, caressing seaweed, snacking on sardines, peeing on that damn sea cucumber, tracing her habitual path. Always trying to swim just one flipper farther, but the boundary pushes her back. The water turns to concrete. She can’t. She just can’t go past the mouth of the bay. What if they come back and she’s not there? She can’t go out there alone.
Today she would. She would! “Feck it! I’m going. I’m gone!”
She rushes forward at top speed. Her wake white and turbid. The bay opens, the ocean empties out into the endless void.
“I’m doing it. I’m fecking doing it! Feck you, Larry!”
A rapture courses through her stronger than any pufferfish high. She is whole. She is free. She will never turn back.
And then it comes. Like a hammer to the nose. Like crashing into cliffs. She curls inward and dives down. She keeps diving. “I’m never coming up!”
Seconds or minutes or hours later, she is swimming east, back toward the bay. Her treacherous self-preservation getting the better of her.
As much as she hates them, she needs the sunscreen-slathered apes. They are all she has anymore. She returns to the beach of Inis Oir, hoping to find a swimmer to circle. Perhaps a fellow fallen angel. Someone to share water with. Someone to empty the ocean inside of her.