The Whale at Coney Island
- M4M – 69
A young friend of mine recently acquainted me with the intricacies of Missed Connections, and I have decided to try to find you one final time.
Many years ago, we were friends and teachers together in New York City. Perhaps we could have been lovers too, but we were not. We used to take trips to Coney Island, especially during the spring, when we would stroll hand in hand, until our palms got too sweaty, along the boardwalk, and take refuge in the cool darkness of the aquarium. We liked to visit the whale best. One spring, it arrived from its winter home (in Florida? I can’t remember) pregnant. Everyone at the aquarium was very excited – a baby beluga whale was going to be born in New York City! You insisted that we not miss the birth, so every day after class, and on both Saturday and Sunday, we would take the D train all the way from Harlem to Coney Island.
We got there one Saturday as the aquarium opened and there was a sign posted to the glass tank. The baby beluga had been born dead. The mother, the sign read, was recovering but would be fine. We read the sign in shock and watched the single beluga whale in her tank. She was circling slowly. Neither of us could speak. Suddenly, without warning, the beluga started to throw herself against the wall of the tank. Trainers came and ushered us out. We sat on a bench outside, and suddenly I felt tears running down my face. You saw, turned my face towards yours, and kissed me. We had never kissed before, and I let my lips linger on yours for a second before I stood up and walked towards the ocean.
It was too much – the whale, the death, the kiss – and I wasn’t ready.
Forgive me — I don’t think I ever understood what an emptiness you would create when you left and I realized that that kiss on Coney Island was the first and the last.
Are you out there, dear friend?
If so, please respond. I think of you, and have thought of you often, all of these years.
- This is literally one of the most affecting things that I have ever come across on paper. I do not think I have ever felt as empty after reading something as I did when I first finished reading this. And if the universe was indeed capable of kindness, I do hope that these two people were reunited.