Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Cancer Experience Expressions is an online space for the sharing of cancer stories. 

The Shark from Maui

When asked something to the effect of: “If you don’t mind my asking, what happened to your face, man?”

So I was on a surfing trip to Maui and the one day I’m just chillin’ on my board, ya know, the wake was pretty chill so I’m just floating there, reflecting on life and all that. Then my daze was broken when I spotted something out on the horizon, and it was moving its way in circumference, with me as the centre. I peal my eyes to identify what I’m seeing…

Simultaneously, when I deciphered the object as a fin, it juts under water, B-lining my way. See, earlier that morning I was trying to skimboard, which led to a scrape on my knee from the sand. It had been bleeding. Whoops.

As the beast charged, I had a flashback to the Saturday afternoon when me and Clyde were watching Discovery Channel.  The program claimed the best thing to do when surrounded by aggressive sharks is to just go limb, become one with the sea. So I absolutely did.

But nope, I sensed its pursuit steady.  Again, my mind went to that episode—that day on the couch. It also said their pressure point is square between the eyes, just above the nose.

Before I knew it, my forearm was landing square on—first point of contact. I could see it in her eyes that she was thrown off but remained in attack, got me right down the leg (lift pant to reveal scar) n’ across the chin.

Apparently the vertigo from the blow proliferated, motivating the threat to flee. It wasn’t too long until help responded and brought me ashore. Some scars persist but so does my passion to surf. I plan to make a return trip this year.  Are you in?

I’ve more or less retired this story after a room of third graders completely bought it and I became famous through the school as the guy who fought a shark. Besides, impact has come from the real.

health in progress

collection from Nancy's journal