Carl had never swum into her line of sight, but he wondered if she’d noticed him anyway, swimming around. His color wasn’t quite so orange and his scales didn’t shimmer like hers. But he was intelligent. Carl was the smartest in their school; certainly that would catch her attention. Even if she didn’t know him by sight, she might know him by reputation.
The school swam east, so Wonda swam east, her movements graceful and grand, like she was waving to a crowd from a parade. She was beautiful, and Carl just had to talk to her. The school slowed in tandem for lunch.
“Wonda?” He asked, clearing his throat. He began to tip to one side as she turned toward him. When he was nervous, his left fin would move faster than his right, and he had to take a deep breath to keep himself steady in the water. “I’m Carl and you are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Would you like to swim with me this evening?”
He winced, as though expecting a blow. But she couldn’t be like the other fish, so willing to be part of the crowd, so stupid and empty-headed. He was tried of swimming with the crowd, he wanted to get out and be someone, become something special, to forget all these airheads.
But he didn’t want to go at it alone.
Wonda blew a bubble at him, her eyes blank and without understanding as she picked up a pebble from the river bed, sucking on it for a minute before spitting it back to the ground, and swimming away.