I met a mermaid when I was 9
I met a mermaid when I was 9 years old. Well, met is the wrong word to use. I SAW a mermaid when I was 9. We never spoke, but she was my friend. Sometimes she would wave to me when I was out on the water, other times she would just stick her head out of the water and smile.
I didn’t have many friends at 9, your usual situation, a quiet girl with a mousy appearance that would rather read a book than have makeover sleepovers. However, my quality of life didn’t suffer because of this, if anything, in my mind at the time, my life was far better than those of my peers. I got to live the lives of the characters I loved most whenever I opened a book, so why would I care about a stupid sleepover when I could step into a mysterious castle in England with a mere flip of a page? Admittedly, I did get a little too caught up from time to time with my ranting and raving about magical worlds and creatures that slipped from the pages to my reality, so it was no surprise to me when my mother rolled her eyes after I told her that I had seen a mermaid.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head, sending a quick shot of cold through me, a feeling that came with knowing she was rejecting my idea, leaving me embarrassed and with a need to prove what I was saying was true. “Come on mom please! I saw it I know I did!”
“That’s what you said about the dragon you saw fly over our house on Tuesday.”
She was right, I had made that up. I thought I had seen a dragon but quickly realized it was a cloud, but that didn’t stop me from immediately telling my mom all about it. Today was different though. Today we were at Grandma’s house by the beach. There was something about that place that enhanced my imagination, maybe because we were right on the water and the air always smelled of things I had never smelt before.
Earlier that day I had gone out on our boat with my grandma for a few hours. We were about 30 minutes west of the dock when I saw her. She was exactly how I pictured mermaids, blonde, smooth skin, smiling, bright blue eyes. She bobbed up and down in the water, grinning at me, her arm raising up in a quick wave. I remember my heart stopping and having to make an effort to hold in yelps of glee so I didn’t scare my grandmother. By the time I could tell my mom, I was ready to burst, so it was extra disappointing when she shot me down like she did.
I didn’t bother pushing it with my mom anymore that night, so I decided to turn around and go to bed, knowing I would just have to show her the mermaid in the morning.
Sure enough, the next day, she was there. I looked over the front of the boat and squealed when I saw her peering out at us from behind the same rocks she had been near the day before. I darted to the back and grabbed my mom, yelling nonsense about how she was wrong and I was going to be right for once. In the 5 seconds it took for me to get her to the front of the boat, the mermaid had disappeared. My face fell, I looked up at my mother, the beginnings of disbelief on my tongue, but before I could say anything she just smiled and shook her head, and walked back to the far end of the boat.
I didn’t understand, she had been there a second ago, so where was she now? I was determined to see her again.
I sought her out for 4 more days, until finally I was ready to give up. It was my last day at the beach and I was ready to decide that I had made her up in my head. When my grandma offered up one last boat ride before I went home, I agreed, not thinking I would see the mermaid, but just to be on the water one last time. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw her, just as I had seen her the other two times, floating idly by the rocks.
She looked a little different this time. Her hair looked whiter than before, and her eyes had become completely blue from end to end. Her smile seemed weighed down, the skin around it looked gray, but it could’ve just been a trick of the light on the water. She raised her arm a bit in a half-hearted wave, I did the same, smiling knowing I had been right all along.
Over time I forgot about my mermaid friend, until last night. I had spent all day moving into my new apartment, and I crashed pretty early and woke up pretty late. When I woke up, I remembered a dream I had had about a blonde mermaid; she was screaming about how she was stuck under a rock, and she sobbed and sobbed into the water that she was scared and tired, waving one arm out of the water hoping anyone would see her. She looked familiar, so it didn’t take long for me to remember the mermaid I had seen when I was young.
I’m writing this now because I got lunch with my grandma today. She told me that earlier that week they had found bones in the lagoon outside her house, partially under the big rocks out west. I don’t think I ever met a mermaid.