Her parents rarely brought Millie anywhere (unless one of their important and wealthy friends recommended a greater portion of kindness for the girl). They dragged her along on the whale watching cruise for just such a reason – that and the unspoken hope she’d trip and fall over the side. She was … like another animal, switched at birth, with none of the typical coloring and robustness of normal (attractive) human children. Midway through the trip, floating through an abnormally large pod, Millie’s father noticed that the lower deck was completely silent. Coming onto the walkway, he saw his daughter surrounded by weeping gawkers and frenzied picture-takers. She had tied her own legs to the boat and was hanging out over the water, where blue whales were lined up alongside the craft, tipped to one side to see her with one of their great eyes. She was stroking their faces and speaking to them softly. “Don’t worry,” she said, smiling into the immense iris. “Your children and mine will survive and evolve to be similar; we will not be strangers. When water again covers the earth, there will be no fishermen, only children of the deep tides and the shallow eddies. We will sing the same songs.” He stood there, transfixed, until she told a whale that the arrogant and vapid would pass readily into extinction without being mourned … and she looked right at him. Why had he never noticed that she had eyes the color of the sea?
(For Joan, who desperately needed something about whales.)