by Harmony Hodges
She had secretly watched humans from a distance at a nondescript rock by the esplanade, but had never come ashore. It was early Saturday morning. There was a ship in the distance. The tourists were just starting to wake up; it was Memorial Day weekend. The mermaid crept to the shore. Her aquamarine scales shimmered with flecks of aurora borealis. She pulled herself up to the beach with her athletic arms. Parts of her long blonde hair had tiny curls like question marks. It was just starting to get light outside. As she sat on the dry sand waiting for her legs to appear, she noticed a glass ball hidden amongst some seaweed. Not the kind she was accustomed to in the sea, but one made by a local artisan.
"It'll do," she said.
She brushed off the sand and peered into the rosey glass. She saw the cemetery where her sailor was buried. She had saved him during the Vietnam war when he fell overboard into a frothy, swirling, frenzy of sharks. At the time, he was a young sailor working on an escort carrier. His buddies yelled, "Ron! Ron! Ron!" She held his legs so he wouldn't drown. She kept the sharks away, as sharks never tangled with mermaids. As the rope came down, he pulled himself to safety.
He looked behind at her and said, "Come with me."
At that instant, that precious crystal instant, she wanted to follow him and grab the rope - to live as one of them, but she didn't. The moment haunted her forever. However, she always kept track of him by watching him in the Japanese glass floats she found in the ocean.
"Hey you, want to buy some sandals?" said a voice.
She looked up. A boy with a black netted backpack full of shoes handed her a pair of flip flops.
"Here, try these on." he said.
She was dry now, and had two legs, and two feet. She surreptitiously tried to put the sandals on. Her toes were webbed so it didn't work. She handed them back. The boy snatched them away and ran towards a couple -stretching for their morning run. The aroma of fresh coffee and baked goods was wafting from the Sun and Surf cafe at the esplanade. She looked in the glass ball and saw some veterans placing a flag on Ron's gravesite along with some flowers. A seagull was sitting on a nearby headstone watching.
"Flowers, I've got fresh flowers." said a cheerful voice. This time she looked up to see a man with a bucket of red roses, each in plastic sheaths. "I'm raising money for the Veterans Hospital." he said. She looked at him with her misty lilac eyes. There was an awkward silence. He looked at her naked torso and gave her a rose anyway. "Have a good day," he said.
She looked at the rose. She put her finger in it, but it wouldn't suck like a sea anenome. Unimpressed, she looked back into the glass ball. Ron's face was etched in the headstone. She studied each line, each crevasse. She stood up. If she went to the cemetery in the small town and visited his grave, she would never be able to see him again in a glass float. If she didn't pay her repects at the gravesite today, she may never get the nerve to do it again. More people were coming down to the beach. She burrowed her toes into the sand.
The seagull from the cemetery flew over her head and towards the ship in the ocean. "Man overboard, man overboard!" he squawked. She dropped the rose colored glass and it inadvertantly smashed against a rock. As her right brain and left brain collided like two unfettered rams, she ran back to the sea. As she dove in she whispered, "Goodbye Ron..." and swan out to the ship.
I live in Portland Oregon and I visit the ocean whenever I can.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'Shades of Evanescence'
'The Eye of the Hurricane'
'See the Burning Sea'