Monday, May 26, 2008

The Mermaid Story

He calls me Anais, the sad mermaid. I was born long, long ago, longer than I can even remember, in the abyss of the dark ocean. I took shape from a random thought you see, God just imagined for a second how a being half human half fish would look like and from His dream we took shape. But as every random thought, we were shortly forgotten so never completely finished. Without any soul or reason, we live only in dark waters and very seldom see the surface and the sun.

Since the first day I came to life I was a rather restless creature. Not satisfied with the gloomy living of my people I liked to adventure to surface and play my beautiful songs for the homesick sailors. I could put so much sadness and despair into those songs, pure passion as intense as they have never experienced before. I loved charming them with my wicked spells, luring them to the swirls of the sea. And they would follow me blindly, for a second enlighten with a vision of a world and of a feeling unexperienced before. They would always come so full of joy only to find their doom in the cold abyss of my cruel world. They were merely a game to me you see, and I was just a bored player looking for more challenging prey. And one day he came to me.

The ship did not appear different than any other. I could hear from far away the noisy sailors, the grumpy captain, and the same sleazy jokes and I could smell the drunkenness in the air. And yet this time there was something different. From somewhere inside the ship I could hear the most enchanted music. There was no sadness in it, or passion or treachery. It was just sung with amazing love of life and light, and nature. And in just a few seconds I was absorbed by it. I got closer and closer to the ship and I started to feel the most puzzling happiness, so much different from the one I feel during windy storms on the ocean. It was a calm and perhaps a bit threatening overwhelming joy. I felt I was no longer controlling my senses, a pray of my own game. I tried to sing myself but my voice was gone and I felt I was beginning to turn into stone. Just then I suddenly felt two hands catching me, the song ended and I felt that in some peculiar way that I was saved.

I woke up the next morning to find myself in human shape. My skin was gone and was amazed to discover my human legs. Like a swirl of thoughts I remembered accounts from the past that the elders have always told me. Any water Nereid can change into human form once her skin is stolen and is bound to stay with the stealer until the skin is recovered and she can return to her home again. So I was a prisoner. Taken away into exile, far away from the safe darkness of my world and thrown into the wicked light I so much feared.

The door opened and I could see entering a handsome light haired man, so opposite to my merpeople. He was kind and gentle and yet I could see caution and perhaps some fear in his voice. He stayed there, next to me for hours, silent, expecting me, to wake up. I blinked for a second and he started talking. He was admiring my glossy skin and mingled hair. But I could not hear anything else. His voice was the one of my enchanter and I knew I was lost. How could I, one of the cruelest of my kind feel such excitement over a human? He was there, next to me and I knew I was forever a prisoner to his voice. So I followed him. Always silent and obedient I forgot my people and my cold underwater world and I learned to live in the sun.

Years past and the charm did not disappear. It grew stronger every day and some may even say what I felt was close to love. He never sang to me, as if he knew it would bring my destruction but he cared for me like I did not think it was possible. We lived in what they say to be human village and he gave me the name of Anais, though he most often called me under the human term of wife. How weird beings humans are sometimes. They bond each other in pointless commitments they call marriage and call themselves in love but yet they seldom listen to their companions and most often hurt them deeply. But as hard as it is for me to understand them I can see it’s just as hard for them to understand me. They suspect my unholy nature as I never go to church, or pray or even pronounce His name. I never cry or laugh and in the times of storm I go alone and wander through the waves, like a ghost from another world. And yet I can feel joy, the joy of having him next to me.

It sometimes seems weird even to me how far I am now from the rebel, cruel creature that played with the lives of so many sailors. I live in a dream of the past, the dream of a song that took my life away and gave me a new beginning, a new reason to live a new life. He doesn’t seem to care about my silence or my weird habits. He is too fascinated with my glossy skin and dark eyes and I sometimes think he sees me more like an amazing exotic possession, just as important as his enormous shell he found on a nearby island that everyone envies him for. And yet people much rather condemn him for having me than praise.

And can I blame them? Humans have a sense for feeling the evil, and although it is no longer at the surface I can still feel it dwelling there, deep inside me, thirsty for lives and ready to sing deadly songs once again. I sometimes feel the call of the ocean so strongly that my every bone hurts and I have to use every grain of will I have left to keep myself from going into a world now unknown and deadly to me.

Summers pass by and I can feel I’m growing older. Old? This is a new feeling for me. My near-mortal nature keeps me from growing older while I’m away from the sun, deep in the abyss of my world. But here, no longer safe, time leaves its mark on my human body. I have experienced the miracle of bearing children and now I have two twin girls and I sometimes wish they were entirely human but I can see in them the cruel grain of the cruel water spirits. Just like me they like wandering alone on the ocean shores, perhaps answering the call that torments my dreams. They seem mesmerized by the mad storms and hurly winds and I fear for their human souls that would get eaten by the darkness of the deep ocean.

It is September and the waters are more agitated then ever. I can hear their call every day, in every dream, in every hidden wish that tries to come to surface. My two daughters are playing outside, happy about the evening wind with some kind of glossy cloth they found under a bed. I just look closer and I have the revelation. It is my skin, there, next to me, so close I can go and touch it. I run like mad away from my husband, away from this world and I can feel all my senses revived a the thrill of being myself again. I go and I grab it from my daughters and I can not hear anything anymore. It’s all just a big swirl in my head. Ocean and earth, sun and darkness, charms and songs, voices screaming, calling for my return into the sea, where I belong. I can hear them all louder and louder and I start screaming, singing with joy and despair, crying and laughing dancing around like a madman and then there is all silence again. I meet my husband’s eyes lost again into mine and I remember everything again. My life, his voice, the calmness and happiness. A choice has to be made I know between cruel and kind, calm and agitated, between right and wrong, forgiveness and revenge, human and beast. All I feel is lost in my memories and my wishes. I want to cut myself into two and be able to separate the beast in me from all that I have as a human. I want to be able to love and hate and live according to reason and grow old and hear him sing once more. And yet there is the skin, lying there, so close to me, tempting me to wear it and fulfill my duty as a mermaid. Just taking it and leaving forever to my home is what is right, it’s all the beast in me has been taught how to do. I think of God and his horrendous mistake and I curse the day he made us. I curse his mistake and I wish he had left us plain beasts rather than giving us just a glimpse of what we could never have, a soul. But now thinking has no point anymore. My decision is made and I know no storm or sunshine in the world could ever change it.

I move slowly, enjoying every step, every random thought. I touch the shells, the water and I swim once more. I can see the skin, lying there next to my husband on the white sand. I look at him once more and I realize that I have overcome my instincts because all I feel is joy and profound love. I call him, speaking for the first time the words that should have never had spoken, breaking the law of my people. I don’t sing I just call and he comes a bit puzzled, a bit afraid. And we swim like madmen and wander on the beach and cry of the happiness of finding each other. I can see his face and I understand he now feels my charm too, not knowing that it’s too late.

The sin has been committed. I chose to go against my nature and I know that I am doomed. But my choice has already been made long before. I go on the beach and I ask my lover to sing, just as he did on the first day. And he sings so beautifully and so full of joy that I feel the intense passion I used to give to sailors so long ago. I know I am turning slowly into stone but I ask him not to stops, and keeps on singing, so passionate in his song for me. And when it is over I will be gone, just a thought left in his mind, a black stone on the white sands, a mistake finally having been corrected.

No comments: