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A Mermaid Tale


Nadia I. Nitol


I was born to be a mermaid.

One day, I will roam around the world without an oxygen tank pinning me down. I will fly carefree without checking my back to see who has their baits out to put a hook through my lips. I can feel it through each and every one of my scales. I flip my red tail and see how it causes ripples and then know for sure it is meant to be. When I take a deep breath and come up to the surface to see the world pass me by without a curtain of water blocking my eyes, I feel thankful for this life.

My mother called me a dreamer. My father, with rather harsher judgment, a lunatic. I can sympathise with my father. It was indeed the moon that made me homesick for a place I have never been to. When the moonlight creates shadows with mazes and mind-boggling puzzles, I can relate to the lone wolf. The moon showed me the meaning of living.

The water is my sanctuary. It is what I have known all my life. And I have taken it for granted. I want to leave. It doesn’t let me venture into my true purpose. When I go up to the surface, I am free. But the surface tries to choke me if it gets past two minutes. Perhaps that’s what makes it so desirable. I want to make the surface my sanctuary.

A mermaid can have both worlds. I am not greedy. I am optimistic. I will roam around the world wearing my flip flops. I will float through the ocean when the sea calls me for a visit. When a mighty storm hits the surface, I will rescue a sailor and he will be mine forever. I will take him with me to chase the little kids running after their toy cars. We will sit idle at a cafe and have five cups of coffee, till it’s too late for another cup and neither of us can sleep because we are high on caffeine. Who needs sleep when there is love, anyway?

On weekends, we will wake up when the sun hits our eyelids. With nothing to do at all, we will go back to sleep, in each other’s arms this time. And when it’s much, much too late to sleep any longer, we will have breakfast for dinner and listen to that old ’80s song we can’t stop feeling nostalgic about. Our neighbours will think it’s too loud and shout a couple of times for us to keep it down and then give up, cursing our youthful nature and their lives’ bitterness. They will hope and pray one day that it contaminates us as well.

Dreams are dreams for a reason. They try their hardest to come true. So I will keep dreaming of my sailor and our adventures both home and out in the open.

I am a Koi fish gliding through an aquarium at a dentist’s fancy chamber.

I was born to be a mermaid.

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