(Disclaimer: this story contains slight mermaid tf and same sex relationships.)
My life changed forever when I was fourteen.
A new year had begun and I was coping with fresh heartache. His name was Josh. He was tall with blond curls and happened to be in my class. We never dated. Actually, the only interactions I had with him were between classes, with most of my words being “Hi”. I always liked it when he acknowledged me and we'd exchange some small talk, but otherwise he was busy with friends or football or whatever else he did. My friends quickly caught on about my crush and offered me advice, but I was afraid to rush things.
Then, as the school year was ending, I was getting some vegetables at the grocers. At the checkout I overheard some girls from my school discussing Josh. I leant an ear to the conversation, only for one girl to slip out “I heard he's going out with Becky!”. The revelation was like a stake had been plunged into my sternum. I sauntered home, trying to convince myself I hadn't heard it. After a sleepless night, I was still clinging on to hope that it was just a rumour. When I got to school however, I saw Josh talking to a brunette next to my locker. It wasn't even the small talk that he and I shared either. The conversations were very animated, and lingered far longer than our own discussions. Before she left, he left a small kiss on her cheek and said “Cya later, Becks.” With that small gesture, I knew I had lost.
I tried to survive for days after that. I avoided speaking to him. I tried to indulge myself into summer homework (which was too hard for me anyway). I listened to music on my I-Pod, only to find myself crying to some ballad a teen idol of the time was singing. Eventually, my friends noticed my dour mood and quickly got me to confess. Their cries were hypocritical, yet sympathetic: “You poor thing!” “He wasn't your type.” “You deserve better, girl!”
To help take my mind off of things (and maybe to find a new boy), they invited me to go to the beach. In truth, I didn't want to go. Some of my friends had some very fancy bikini's and had already grown the necessary curves to lure young, hormonal boys. I on the other hand, had a skinny, featureless body and a one-piece outfit that did nothing to hide the cruelty of puberty. However, they were my friends and I didn't want to ruin their fun so I tagged along.
I spent that day hiding my pathetic body with a baggy T-shirt and faking a smile the whole time. I did try to join in on the fun. I splashed in the water, laughed at their jokes, and got myself an ice cream with them. Yet, when the girls started flirting with one particular boy, I couldn't take it. I knew they just wanted me to move on, but I didn't feel ready trusting another boy so soon. I had to fake menstrual cramps just to excuse myself from their fun.
I didn't go home though. I didn't feel like facing my parents with my baggage. Instead, I took myself as far away from my problems as I could. On the way, I passed the kids running around their half-built sandcastles, the bikini-clad sunbathers and a middle aged man in a speedo, and eventually reached a part of the beach that was not inhabited by anyone: the rockpools. As a kid I would always investigate these pools with my mother and father, fascinated by the anemones and limpets that clung to the rocks. It was always different each time I explored, and on this day I figured it would be different again.
I had spotted a starfish in one pool when I noticed a purple blur up ahead. I turned to look at the large concave formation that lay at the edge of the rocks. I'd known this formation as “The Bowl”, and all the time I'd visited it, the water inside was always waist deep. Curiously, I tiptoed to the edge, hoping I hadn't scared whatever the blur had been. Suddenly, a girl's face crept over the edge of the Bowl. Just as soon as she spotted me, she bobbed back under the surface.
To say my curiosity was peaked would be an understatement. “Hey!” I called.
Slowly, the girl's head poked up to the surface again. Immediately the first thing I noticed was her hair. It was purple. It looked too rich to be a regular dye-job, and was very much like lavender-coloured seaweed dripping over her violet eyes. I could tell she was judging me, as if the next words I said would determine my fate.
“N-nice hair.” I said, unsure how else to move the conversation.
“T-thanks.” She said, still hiding her body in the water.
“What are you doing here?” I said.
“Swimming.” She said.
“Isn't it too shallow for swimming?” I asked.
“I don't mind.” Her body seemed to be retreating away from me. “Could you please stay away?”
I felt a little stunned about that statement. “Huh?”
Her head sunk an inch. “Y-you're not going to capture me, are you?”
That remark just about made me laugh. I could tell this girl was just about my age, so the fact she thought I was some kidnapper seemed absurd.
“No. Why would you think that?”
“Mother said there are humans on the land who capture us.”
At that moment, I knew something was amiss. That statement sounded so unusual that she had to be hiding something. I crouched down, causing her to retreat more. “What do you mean by that?”
At that moment the girl froze. Then, she whispered. “A-are you on your own?”
She then stuck out a finger and beckoned me over. “Come here.”
At first I wasn't sure if I could trust her. She seemed very vague and strange. For all I knew, she could be attempting to push me into the Bowl with her and drown me. Yet it didn't seem like that. She genuinely did seem frightened, yet intrigued to see me. With caution, I crept closer to the edge until I noticed a strange blue shape somewhere in the Bowl's ripples. Compared to the darkness of the Bowl's rocky floor and the greenish water it stood out too much. I then got a glance of her face. She seemed to be about my age, but also beautiful. She had a pert nose, purple lips and her cheeks sparkled as if there was glitter speckled along them. Her eyes seemed large and very expressive, never once daring to blink.
“C-can you please not tell anyone I was here.” She watched me wearily.
I noticed she didn't seem to have anything covering her torso. I couldn't see any bikini straps anyway. “Have you lost your top?” I asked.
Her eyebrows rose. “Top?”
I had to motion to my shirt. “Something covering you up?”
“Oh those? I don't have one.” I noticed her naked chest and almost blushed myself. She obviously was more stacked than me. They were normal for a girl her age but compared to me they may as well have been D-cups.
“I see.” I looked away out of modesty.
“Is something bothering you?” She asked innocently.
“N-not really.” I stammered. “How did anyone not see you on the beach?”
“I didn't go on the land.” She coyly answered. Suddenly, I noticed something blue emerging from the surface. It sparkled in the sunshine. It reminded me of a pair of flippers floating along the greenish waters, only they seemed rather translucent. Then I traced the flippers to the blue shape that was surfacing behind the girl. It looked very thick and scaly. It glistened just as brightly, and appeared to be leading to somewhere on the girl's lower-back.
It then dawned on me what the blue thing really was.
“Is that a tail?” I asked, maybe a little too loudly.
“Shhhh” The girl hushed me, leering behind me to see if anyone else overheard. “Yes. It is.”
I studied the tail more. It could've been a very good practical effect, but I didn't see any sequins fall into the water, nor did it have the texture of something rubber or latex. It also seemed to move with her body a little too well.
“Is it real?” I asked, just to be sure.
She nodded. “You're not going to tell anyone I'm here?”
I stopped and saw that she was very uncomfortable. I could've told someone. It wasn't often you encountered a mermaid in real life. But there was also something I had learned from my mother: always treat people the way they treat you. I knew if I was in her shoes, I wouldn't want to become the subject on the 6 O'clock News.
I shook my head. The mermaid gave a sigh. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
“I was resting.”
“Resting? From what?”
“It's something my kind does when we come of age.” She said. “We have to take a journey around the world to prove our independence.”
“Around the world?” I asked. “Where do you live?”
“I know it's not here.” She seemed very sure of herself. “The water here feels a lot warmer than my home.”
“You can tell all of that?” I found myself getting engaged in the conversation.
The mermaid placed her small hand in the water and caressed it amongst the Bowl's surface. It was so simple yet I couldn't help but be mesmerised by the sight. It looked more like the hand was dancing along the surface. “When you live in the water for so long you tend to pick up on some things.”
“Then shouldn't you sleep in the Ocean?”
Suddenly she turned sheepish. “Yeah. But....”
She sunk her chin into the water some. “I don't want to say.”
She looked away. “It's so embarrassing!”
“I won't laugh!” I spoke before I could think. I really wanted to know more about this girl.
The mermaid glanced at me with her purple eyes and muttered. “Sharks.”
“I got chased by sharks!” She huffed, crossing her arms. “There I said it!”
I almost wanted to snicker at how obvious her fear was. “I think that's very normal. I wouldn't want to be eaten by a shark.”
“It's not just that.” She muttered.
“What do you mean?”
She seemed to take an age to answer as she tried sinking in the water once more. Finally, she mumbled. “They were baby sharks.”
I don't know what propelled me to laugh at that moment. Maybe it was just how ludicrous the situation sounded, or that she was ashamed about such a situation.
“Its not that funny!” She huffed. “A shark is still a shark!”
“I'm sorry.” I said. “I just think it's cute.”
She crossed her arms. “Anyway, I'm sure the mother's out there somewhere so I'm going to wait until there's no sign of them.”
Suddenly, my phone rang. My mother was asking when I was coming home. I told her a rushed “soon” then hung up. When I turned to the mermaid, I saw that she was staring at me as if I'd grown a second head.
“What's that?” She pointed to my phone.
“This?” I replied. “It's a tool we use to talk over long distances.”
“Really?” Her face lit up. “Can I have it!”
“No!” I flinched away. “It's not waterproof.”
“Can I at least touch it?” She said sweetly. “I've always been curious about the world you humans live in! I promise I'll give it back!”
I was hesitant to give it up. Finally, I saw the cute pout she was making and relented. “Ok. Don't drop it.”
She studied the device as if it was a new species of seashell. “Can you show me how it works?”
I was hesitant, but again her wide eyed naivete got to me. It felt like I was taking care of a younger sister that I never got the fortune to have. Soon I was showing her how to press buttons and we accidentally called up a friend of mine. I had to make up an improvised call just to make sure she didn't try to find us. Me and the mermaid then laughed our heads off.
I soon noticed the sky turn orange on the horizon, meaning I had to go home. The mermaid however seemed very hesitant to see me leave. “Do you really need to go?” She pouted.
To be honest, I didn't want to leave either. She seemed so fun to be around that I forgot she wasn't human. “Yes. Do you need to leave soon?”
“Not exactly.” She sighed. “I am hungry, but I guess I can do some fishing.”
“Fishing? With a rod?”
“Not really.” She replied. “We catch them with our hands, then eat them.”
“It's delicious really.” She insisted. “Especially fish intestines. You tried it?”
“I'll pass.” I tried to ignore the nausea that had crept up on me. “Why not I come back and get you a burger?”
“Bur-ger?” Her tongue seemed to be tasting the word for the first time.
“It's food humans eat. You want to know more about us, right?”
She nodded. “Hmmm, ok. You promise this isn't a trap?”
“Even if I did try to tell someone, they wouldn't believe me.” I said.
“Ok.” Her tail fin flapped along the surface. “Wait, I never got your name!”
“It's Jessica.” I offered my hand.
“Marina.” She offered her hand and we shook. At the time, I remember how surprisingly normal it felt. Even though she had lived in the water for a long time, it didn't feel shrivelled.
For the rest of that summer, me and Marina would spend time together. Every day I would arrive at the rockpools and then call for her. Marina would then jump into the Bowl like a dolphin. She would never really come out of the Bowl, fearing she would be spotted by others, and for those first few meetings, she would always give weary glances around whenever we talked.
As promised, I did give her a burger from the Fish and Chip shop. I did think about giving her a fish burger, but figured she might want a regular hamburger for a change of pace. The moment I took it out of the bag, she snatched it out of my hand, and buried in into her mouth without getting rid of the paper. After she spat out the wrapping and gave it a few cooling blows, she took a proper bite. Then another. She was half way through eating before she happy replied “Wow! This is really good!” I couldn't help but smile at her joy.
From then on it became a back and forth conversation between us. She would give me a barrage of questions about the world. Some were very innocent (“What creatures do you have on land?”) and others elicited a laugh out of me (“Do your horses have beaks?”). In return I had my own questions: were mermaids human or fish (Her answer: “I'd say we're both.”)? Do you talk to sealife (“Not really. You could say I sense their emotions. Their happiness, pain, sadness, stuff like that.”)? Do you have palaces or a royal family (Turns out, they don't. Apparently they're rather nomadic)? She would always flick off an answer as if she was prepared. I wondered if she had wanted to make a friend all this time. I was too afraid to ask so I didn't bring it up.
Our days together were really long, and I'd come whenever I could. There were times we couldn't meet because some kids would be exploring the rockpools. Another time it rained and I was thinking of not going, but I imagined her waiting there in the Bowl all alone and I had to sneak out of the house with an umbrella. She seemed rather surprised to see me when I called for her. “I thought humans always went inside.” She said to my embarrassment.
Our conversations became such a habit that by the time the second week came around, I didn't even flinch seeing her naked torso. Of course, even I knew the nudity would become a problem so I asked her if I could give her a shirt.
“Why?” She asked. “Is there something wrong with my breasts?”
I blushed at how straightforward she said it. The conversation was awkward, but when I explained that it may be a clue to her mermaid nature, she quickly agreed. When I did give her a old shirt of mine, I couldn't help but feel jealous in how well she pulled it off. It was like looking at a future version of me, only prettier. At times she did squirm but she got accustomed before giving it back to me when I left. It took a lot of explaining with my mother over why half my clothes smelt like fish and seawater.
Another time I asked Marina if could touch her tail. She complied, but she had to point to a spot on her flank (It only occurred to me later that I didn't exactly know where a mermaid's genitalia was). It felt a lot like the fish my family would buy from the fishmonger's for dinner, but looked just as dazzling.
All this time I never told her about my romantic life. Maybe that's because I enjoyed our time so much, it never came up. Yet when I left, the memory of Josh would come back with a vengeance. I'd sometimes find myself crying when I returned home.
Then, one day Marina asked out of the blue. “I noticed you have been feeling sad whenever we talk. Why is that?”
“H-how did you know?” I gasped.
“I told you, I can sense emotions of living creatures.” She placed her hands on mine. “Same goes for humans.”
I paddled my feet, the thought of that boy's sweet curls coming back to stab me in the heart. “It's nothing. I was just dumped.”
“Dumped?” She tilted her head. “What's that?”
I tried to shrug it off as nothing. “It's nothing. Just a person I liked didn't like me.”
Suddenly her face became white. For a moment I thought I'd done some sort of mermaid taboo and offended her. Then, she leapt up onto me and wrapped her arms around me.
“What are you-” I asked as I tried to keep my balance.
“Shhhh. It's alright.” She whispered. “Mother said if someone has a broken heart, you should show them love and be there for them.”
Before I knew it, she kissed me on the forehead. I flinched, but I wasn't exactly repulsed. There was something comforting about her kiss. It was just as tender as the kisses my mother would give me when she tucked me in bed as a child. However, something about it felt different for reasons that took me years to figure out.
For that moment however, I melted into her and cried all my frustration out.
Soon, summer was ending and the time came for her to leave. When she brought it up one afternoon it felt like a slap to the face. I had enjoyed her company so much that I forgot that she lived far away.
“Do you?” I asked, as if expecting her to make a joke. However her sheepish expression said otherwise. “Is the shark gone?”
“For over a week.” She admitted, as if ashamed she'd kept a secret from me. “I really wanted to stay around a bit more.”
“Do you have to leave?” I asked, even though I knew it was obvious.
“If I don't, then I'll worry my parents.” She sighed, her tail remaining limp in the water.
I knew it wasn't forever, yet there was something in me that didn't want to see her leave. It was like the time a friend of mine in grade 3 left school because her parents had found a job in another town. I was depressed for 3 weeks. However, this was different. Marina wasn't an ordinary girl that I could bump into on the street, or forget easily. “Will I see you again?” My voice trembled.
Marina saw my distress and put both her hands in mine. “Jess, you're the first human friend I've made. Of course I will.”
“Yes,” She smiled. “In fact, if I survive the trek back, I can come back here and see you again!”
Suddenly, my entire body went from feeling anxiety, to absolute joy. Without thinking I hugged her, not even ashamed to feel her breasts press into me.
After we calmed down, we both agreed that we needed a memento for the summer we had. I spent the hours before our farewell looking through the only Op-shop in town, wondering what a mermaid would even want. I tried to think what Ariel in the Little Mermaid kept in her collection, only to remember that her idea of art was a fork. But was that what Marina wanted? It wasn't long before I found a small little thing at the counter which I thought suited her so well. I brought it for only 2 dollars then ran to the Bowl, eager to see what a mermaid's idea of a gift was.
She was already there when I arrived. She had a big grin on her face and her tail was twitching excitedly, almost making the water froth up. I gave her my gift: a pair of plastic, dolphin earrings that were a bright teal green.
“Cute!” She chirped. She didn't even flinch when I pinned them through her ears. Turns out mermaids did wear earrings, but usually from coral or shells. However, she loved the colour and wanted to show off.
“Are you ready for your gift?” She asked, eager, yet nervous to show me.
I nodded and she suddenly went under the water. She soon came back up and placed something in my hands. It was small and smooth pebble, yet under the light I could see flecks of pink, blue and yellow glisten. “Woah!” Was all I could say.
“I knew you liked it.” She beamed. “I knew it reminded me of you the moment I saw it.”
“In what way?”
She closed her hands around mine. “Its a special stone. It may look ordinary on first glance, but if you look very close, it is beautiful and very interesting.”
I gasped. Something about that line spoke to me. “You think I'm...beautiful?”
“And interesting.” She nodded happily. “I know you don't think that, but you just need to have some faith in yourself. Maybe that boy you like will notice you.”
“Yeah,” I blushed. “Thanks.”
We then hugged, and said our goodbyes. Mine sounded like a hiccuping frog as the tears started to roll. I wasn't able to see if she was crying too, for she immediately jumped into the ocean before I could see her eyes. Then I saw the trail of her tail dart off into the horizon until it faded and all I had left of Marina was the small rock in my hands.
A long year passed. In that time I lost my grandmother to illness, the boy I liked dumped his girlfriend (only to find a new one immediately), I hurt my ankle playing netball and missed a big Nationals game, and to my relief, I finally started growing breasts and went through three different bra sizes in a few months. All that time however, I was burdened by the secret of the summer I had with Marina and somehow resisted the temptation to tell any of my other friends.
Of course, I had no guarantees she would return. I kept wondering if a shark had eaten her, or if her parents disapproved of the earrings and banned her from seeing me. Once I saw a news report about an oil rig fire and had a terrifying thought she was caught in the middle of it.
By the time summer came around, I was becoming more confident about my body. Gone was the baggy shirt and in it's place was a sleeveless singlet. I had the stone Marina gave me configured into a necklace, which I was eager to show her. When I arrived at the Bowl however, no one was there. A pang of anxiety swept through me, but I tried to rationalise it. She was probably late, or maybe she wasn't coming today. I ended up waiting for her, afraid I'd come off as rude if I wasn't there to see her. 3 hours and some sunburnt shoulders later I was convinced she wasn't coming. I barely got any sleep that night. For a few days after that I would check the Bowl, only for no one to show up. I started to worry if she was just a figment of my imagination. Only the stone reassured me that wasn't the case. I thought about leaving a note, but I quickly remembered that all numbers and words would be strange symbols to her.
I eventually came up with an idea. One day, I left my old cell phone in the Bowl. I figured that if Marina did show up, she would play with it, or take it. For a few more days I checked the Bowl when I was alone, but the phone still rested amongst the limpets and the occasional crab.
It was a week before Christmas that I noticed a change. The phone was gone. Excitedly I called out her name, but there was no reply. My heart quickened it's pace. What if some adventurous kid had stolen it whilst exploring the rockpools?
A blur of blue and purple entered the Bowl and darted toward me. Before I even processed it, Marina leapt up onto me and hugged me tight, the teal dolphins from last year dangling from her ears. If I hadn't known better, her breasts that were rubbing into me felt bigger than last year.
“Hi-ya!” She happily shouted as we hit the rocks. “I saw your phone! I knew you were somewhere!” I couldn't help but hug her back, not minding the cool, smooth skin of her back against my fingers.
Seeing each other again was startling. Marina was more beautiful than I remembered. She looked less like a kid, but still had the youthful enthusiasm that I remembered from last summer. For some reason I was glad she still had the earrings. She didn't say anything about me other than I looked “good” as always.
Otherwise, our second summer was just as good as the first. She recalled tales of her travels. She spoke of a whale she befriended (“Melody” was her name), or the shooting star she found near Hawaii. Her parents had asked about the earrings and she lied about finding them in a shipwreck. In exchange I spoke about my troubles and my developments. I even got so comfortable that I confided her some of my secrets. She'd ask me wearily if I was sure, but I didn't mind. It wasn't like she was going to blab about it to another human I knew.
Before long, our second summer was over and Marina's departure was imminent. Like before I didn't want to see her leave, but all I could do was keep myself together. I didn't want Marina to feel guilty of leaving me here. However, she soon sensed my mood.
“I wish I could take you back home.” She said. “Though I don't think my parents would approve.”
“I know.” My shoulders slumped.
She then gave a smile. “However, there is a way I could take you with me, if you wanted me to anyway.”
She gave a very wide and cheeky grin. “I could turn you into a mermaid.”
I was speechless. I didn't know Marina had such ability. For some stupid reason I asked “Would it hurt?”
“No! It's just simple mind magic really.” She explained. “I just put you into a trance, and then I whisper a spell that changes your body altogether. I believe it's something to do with mermaids and humans being really close relatives.”
She nodded. “In fact, all humans have the potential to become mermaids if their instincts for the sea are awakened.”
“No way!” I was stunned in how casually she said it. I wondered if she was anticipating this for a whole year but was afraid to ask. As for the offer, it was tempting. I imagined myself swimming freely in the ocean with Marina, watching the fish dart and twirl around our bodies and colourful tails. It seemed like something out of a fairy tale. Yet at the back of my mind I knew there had to be a catch. Turns out my intuition was right.
“Of course, I'm not allowed to do that yet. Mermaids are only entrusted that power when they are a certain age and now isn't the time.”
“Why did you tell me?” I asked.
Marina gave a devilish smile and leaned closer into me. “I wanted to see what you would think.”
I waded my long legs into the Bowl and sighed. However, Marina followed up, “Jessica, if I become old enough to learn the spell, would you like to become a mermaid?”
I looked at her, surprised by her forwardness. Once more my heart beat accelerated, looking at those purple eyes swirling like whirlpools. They were like a beckoning finger, tempting me to eat the fruit of knowledge.
Without thinking I said. “Of course! I mean, if I'm not busy by then.”
She gave a bright smile which sent a fuzziness through me. “Trust me. You'll make a wonderful mermaid, I just know it.”
For the next few summers, we continued our secret meetings. Every December I would leave a small item at the Bowl, and then check the Bowl daily until the item disappeared. Then I would call for her and she would come swimming.
In some ways, not much changed between us. She was still kind and caring and calmed me in my time of need. Even her child-like wonder at hearing the “magic music” from an MP3 player, or trying out fairy floss was cute. Her tail always splashed about in the water whenever she was happy, and drooped when she was in a glum mood.
However, a lot also changed. My later high school years saw a new phase in my life. I started to become passionate about art. I started to put dark streaks in my hair. I got hooked on alternative music when a friend played me a CD one day. I tried guitar, then gave up after 6 weeks. I eventually gave up on netball and became more interested in painting the sea. My paintings were always a bright blue with schools of colourful fish. One friend saw a painting of mine one day and asked why all the fish were purple. I simply lied that it was my favourite colour.
Marina meanwhile was starting to adjust to the life of a young adult mermaid. During our third summer, she explained to me that she had learned some spells. Alas she hadn't learned that hypnotism trick, but she made up for it when she put her hand in the Bowl, causing bubbles to float towards the sky. She also learned a spell of self defence that could repel her foes. Needless to say, her fear of sharks had reduced greatly.
However, it seemed our meetings were not just two best friends hanging out together. When I saw her again in our third summer, I was taken aback by her beauty. The puppy fat had continued to melt off her features, helped by the long flowing locks that now were reaching her flank. Even her body made me jealous. She was practically a young woman and if not for the tail I could picture her modelling for a magazine. At times I found myself staring at her body, mentally comparing her to me.
Her behaviour also underwent a change. For one thing, she got a lot more closer and intimate around me. Before she'd always been a touchy-feely person. She explained to me that her travels were a very lonely experience, so whenever she did see a friend, she would get as intimate as possible. However, she was now sitting closer to me, and was very eager to pull me into hugs whenever we met. Sometimes she would catch me out whenever I stared and then flick her hair over her ear in a suggestive gesture. Sometimes I thought I'd see her wink out of the corner of my eye, but it was gone by the time I looked at her.
Yet at this point I was unsure how I felt about her. When I went to bed, I would think of all the semi-naked men I could remember from magazines and internet and found they always aroused me in some way. Then I would think of Marina and feel a similar sensation in my core. Sometimes I did ask myself the question of what Marina meant to me. She was beautiful and kind, but was there more to her that I liked? Then, the voice in my head would come up with a convincing counter argument (“remember that one boy you saw doing weights at PE?”).
One day, I asked her. “What do mermaids like?”
She looked at me confused. “You mean food? Games?”
I could feel my face getting red, cursing her naivete. “I mean, do all mermaids like the opposite sex?”
At that moment I thought I saw her face turn a shade of red. “Not really. You could say we're very free in that regard. We can have same-sex partners, and be impregnated by the opposite sex.”
“Oh.” I blushed, drumming my fingers against the edge of the Bowl. “What about you?”
She casually brushed a strand of hair that was touching her nose like a violet cobweb. “I don't really know to be honest.”
There was a pause. “As a child, my parents always said I would make a young merman happy, but I just couldn't see it. All the boys I knew used to tease me a lot. I guess they were just being kids, but as they got older, I just couldn't see them as attractive. Is it weird for humans to feel this way?”
I gulped, feeling the tension between us thicken. At the time I wanted to ask her what she felt about me.
But I was young and stupid, and thought I still liked guys. “Not really.” I said, and then changed the subject.
Just after our fourth summer, a major event would shake up my world just as I entered University.
I was scanning the library shelves for some books on a famous artist for inspiration when I got a call from my phone. Mum was on the other end, distressed. Dad had collapsed at his garage and was in an ambulance. I immediately forgot my books and rushed to the nearest bus station. By the time I arrived at the hospital, Mum was hunched over in her seat.
When she looked up, I saw she was in agony. “He's gone.”
The word hit me like a bullet, and I crumpled into her arms. The whole month after that was a blur. Me and Mum would huddle together, crying into each other's arms. At times I would replay the moments me and Dad shared in my head: that Christmas when he was Santa and then gave me a Barbie Doll; the time he cheered me on during a netball match; giving me an art set when I graduated. Each time I recalled those memories, the aching in my gut would remind me that was all that was left of him.
I could barely remember the speeches and sad condolences from family and friends that happened at the funeral. What I do know was that I ended up taking some time off from University and looked after my Mother. Yet being with mother felt lonely. She always seemed distant and not in a mood to speak. All my other friends had moved away and I didn't know anyone else. Sometimes, I would think of Marina and wondered what she would say.
I happened to find myself at the Bowl a few months after Dad's death. It was winter, and the waves were choppy. I knew Marina wouldn't show, but I was desperate to talk to someone. I somehow avoided falling on the slippery rocks and clutched my stone necklace to comfort me, hoping she would show. As expected it was empty, but I tried to call out her name. All that came out was a squeak and then a massive sob. I felt ashamed of myself. I knew what was going to happen, so why did I think anything different?
Suddenly, I felt a wet body clinging to me. It only took a glance of something teal and a lock of her purple hair to know who it was.
“Shhhhh” She cooed. “It's alright Jess.”
“B-but how?” My voice was barely a whisper.
Her voice was like a gentle breeze. “I could sense your sadness from miles away. I didn't want you to be alone.”
I held her tight, not caring my jeans were drenched from the seawater.
Marina comforted me for a week. She didn't like the cooler breeze that came around winter, so I offered her a hoodie. She never seemed comfortable with it, but that didn't stop her from trying to cheer me up. She'd recall incidents from her travels, such as the underwater volcano she almost swam into, or a rare fish she'd never seen before. I knew these were small, pointless stories, yet with my mood they felt like a ray of sunshine amongst the gloom.
Then, the day before she left, she said. “I finally learned the spell.”
“The Mermaid spell.”
“You did?” I didn't really know what else to say. With all that had happened, I forgot all about it.
She nodded. “I didn't want to say anything because of your grief, but I feel you still want company.”
I could feel my face blush. She could really tell what I was thinking? “Marina.”
“If you want I can give it a whirl.” She insisted. “Just for a few days until you're feeling better.”
I didn't know what to say. It seemed too good to be true. On the one hand, I could become a mermaid with Marina, and swim the sea with her. On the other hand, I also knew that it was an escape from reality. I thought about my mother, and my university aspirations. There was still too much to leave behind.
In the end I had to turn down her offer. I expected her to deflate, or to take it harshly. Instead she just shrugged. “Oh well, I was just asking.”
When she left the next morning, I wondered if I had made the right decision. I knew what I was giving up if I accepted her offer, but something in my heart yearned to be with Marina. It was like the moment she left the Bowl, the gloom I'd been feeling before her visit came creeping back into my stomach. It was as if I'd lost my favourite security blanket.
If she sensed this, she didn't show it. I saw the royal blue of her tail vanish into the dark waters, and what I feared would be forever.
I eventually re-enrolled into University and before I knew it came across Damien. He was a barista at the campus cafe. I'd seen him with his five O'clock shadow and close cropped hair. He'd give me glancing looks as he poured my latte, but never said anything.
Looking back, I can't believe I was ever into him, but at the time there was something about his glances which awakened something inside of me. I instantly would picture his solid arms wrapped around me, his rough cheek scrapping along mine, comforting me from the grief.
I thought it was a fantasy when he suddenly asked me out as I was getting a coffee from him one day.
“Pardon?” Was my reaction.
“Your number.” He said bluntly. “I know you've been checking me out.”
“Have not.” I tried to play it cool, but the butterflies in my stomach said otherwise. However, I couldn't say no. I remembered what I missed out with Josh and realised I'd never tried a serious relationship until now. On an impulse, I gave him my number and the next day met him at a cafe away from the campus.
I wouldn't say it was love at first sight or anything, but he did leave a good impression with me. The good looks helped, but he did prove to be charming and even made me laugh a couple of times. I felt a little inadequate by comparison, yet I wasn't bored of him. He was studying as an engineer, and the job was just a way to pay for the tuition fees (“It's a good back up plan if the study goes to waste,” he joked).
We soon got to know each other, and each time we met I kept fearing I would blow it. I'd always have the butterflies, and I would worry I'd say something stupid. Yet he'd start taking over the conversation and I'd start feeling comfortable. I'd be taken in by his words, and the stories of the silly stuff he did as a child. Soon coffee would become lunches, and then suddenly we were watching a movie together.
Within weeks, me and Damien became comfortable with each other. I never directly told him about Marina (I'm sure revealing to someone you have a mermaid friend was an instant dealbreaker), but we did confide in each other. It also got very physical. One day we hung out at his flat, watching some dumb action movie he recommended. He leaned his head onto my shoulder, and then I leaned into him and stroked his arm. Then simple petting became a game to see who would get a rise out of the other. Before long we were making out on his couch.
Our first time was not what I'd expected. I thought I wanted to be dominated, to be guided into the mysterious world of sex by his strong body. Yet something about it felt off to me. I couldn't really place why. His body was large, and definitely could protect me, and I definitely felt satisfied in some ways. Yet he also felt rough and coarse. It was like he was getting too excited and wanted to pull off all the stops if it all went wrong. Even his post-coitus hug felt suffocating. It was definitely the opposite to the caring, gentle intimacy that Marina always gave me.
Damien would take up my mind so much that Marina almost became forgotten. I would be in bed after a date when I'd suddenly think “What would Marina think?” Then I'd feel a pang in my stomach. How would she react? I could imagine her sitting at the Bowl, telling me “Good for you, girl! I knew you could do it!” Yet that thought seemed so fake to university-age me. This wasn't just a simple guy I'd found cute. This was a relationship with a man. For some reason it felt like I was cheating on her.
By the time summer came around, I almost considered not visiting the Bowl. I knew it would interfere with my life with Damien and the part-time job I had picked up as a waitress. But I couldn't help but think of Marina sitting at the Bowl alone, waiting for me. Just before Christmas I tip-toed my way to the Bowl and called out her name. Sure enough she swam up to me and gave a cheerful “hi”.
Initially I didn't tell her about Damien. However, she quickly again sensed something was amiss.
“Why are you hiding something?” She asked. “Are you ok?”
I then spilled the beans, trying to be as blunt as possible. The whole time, I feared her reaction. I didn't know why. I knew I liked guys. Marina was a good friend, I reasoned, and maybe she would understand.
“You like him?” She asked, yet those words felt like a probe.
“Well, yeah.” I fiddled my thumbs.
There was an uneasy silence between the both of us. Then Marina placed a hand on mine once more, before slipping away. “Congratulations, girl!” Came her peppy reply, and she gave me a tender hug.
I felt like a valve had been released. “Thanks. It's not set in stone.” I assured her. “But I feel there's a spark.”
“I understand.” At the time I thought Marina was taking it well. We went our separate ways and she seemed to be in good spirits. Then she didn't appear the next day. Or the next. I started to get worried. I wondered if she was leaving for another trip around the world without notifying me. I'd wait at the Bowl for an hour, then leave when it was clear she wasn't coming back. I'd try to distract myself painting. I'd get lost drawing another seascape, but then stop when I noticed I was painting a purple fish in the frame again. I tried to clean my room, help mother shopping, try to call Damien. Anything to keep the anxieties away.
She finally showed up on the third day. Marina excused her absence as discovering a treasure in a shipwreck that she wanted to explore. However, she had nothing to show for it, and I sort of felt hurt that she didn't tell me about this sooner. We did discuss our days, but it didn't feel as it had before. She was more subdued than usual, and I started to wonder if something was wrong.
Finally I asked. She seemed really nervous all of a sudden. “Nothings wrong!”
“Marina, I can sense something's wrong. Tell me.”
She stared at her lap. Finally, she said. “I was just thinking of you and Damien.”
I was stunned by this revelation. “Yeah, you're cool, right?”
“Yeah.” She gave a small laugh. “But, I can't help but wonder if I'm getting in the way.”
She stroked her hair nervously. “I don't want to make him think you're cheating on someone.”
“You're not!” I said. “I haven't told him you exist.”
She gave a frown. “But what if he starts asking questions?”
“Look, what we discuss is our secret. Ours. Not his.” I put a hand on hers and she flinched. I let go as if I'd broken a porcelain doll.
She blinked then with sadness spoke, “Listen, I can only show up every once in a while. He's around all the time on the land. It's best if I go.”
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My stomach throbbed uncomfortably. It spread to my whole being like nausea. “Wait, we can still meet.” I pleaded. “I still want to try that spell thing.”
Once more she wrapped herself around me once more. I gasped at the suddenness of it. It wasn't a tight hug or a hug telling me she didn't want to let go. It was soft, and sad.
As she pulled away, she looked into my eyes. “I'm sorry. I need to leave. May we meet again.”
Before I could reach out to her, she dove into the water, and swam away.
I was left in a sombre mood all afternoon, trying to process what had happened. It was only when I got home that the tears all came at once. My Mother comforted me, asking if it was about Dad.
I knew however that moping wouldn't help things and I tried to move on. Damien and I continued to date. We did have some fun times. He was still charming, and he still was impressed by my art. We even had sex a couple of times. Yet there was doubt clouding me. I kept thinking to Marina's sad farewell and it never let go.
In the meantime, Mum was trying to get by in Dad's absence, but she too was finding living a strain. She didn't have the joyful step she used to when planting the garden, or cooking the meals. She was happy when I was around, but even then I never was at the house 24/7.
Then, during my final year of my degree, I returned home and found her on the floor, unconscious. She had no pulse. I called an ambulance, and the paramedics rushed to her aid as fast as they could. But it was too late. Even before her death was confirmed, I knew the worst had happened. I collapsed into a puddle of my own tears as one of the medics comforted me.
After that my friends, colleagues from university, and Damien, all turned up and comforted me. Even family members I hadn't seen in years would spend a couple of hours to share stories of Mum's childhood. Again I had to organise a funeral, but now it felt even lonelier having to do everything myself. When the funeral did happen, I found that I barely knew many of the people who visited. A lot hadn't been in my life lately and I just couldn't relate to them. After the funeral I tried to find Marina but she wasn't there. Even calling her seemed to not bring her around. Was she too far away? Or had something happened?
Mum once told me after Dad died that loneliness was the worst feeling you could have. For the first time I truly realised what she meant. My parents were gone, Marina was MIA, and my friends were more distant than I'd ever remembered. I did have Damien, but somehow it didn't feel as comfortable as before. His jokes felt a bit more insensitive. His comforting touches felt too coarse and advantageous. At times he would ask if I was interested, but I would refuse. I tried to not let it get to me, but it seemed rather insulting that he thought I would get over things so readily. Eventually it got too much and we had a fight. The first time he started screaming at me I was stunned. I never expected someone so controlled to be so loud. He quickly apologised, but I stayed away from him for the rest of the night.
I did crawl back to him though, telling myself that it was a one time thing. I figured he just was in a bad mood, and couples did have their spats. A few days later however, we again had a fight. Again it was about intimacy. Again I wasn't comfortable with it, but I was too afraid to ask after what had happened. Again he roared at my face.
Soon, our relationship became akin to walking in a minefield. One day it was an awkward peace, the next it was a typhoon of anger directed at me. I tried to weather the storm, even having sex with him just to satisfy his needs, but it didn't feel right with me. I didn't want sex. I just wanted comfort. Sometimes I'd awake in his bed with tears in my eyes.
Finally, things fell apart. We were watching a movie at his house one night. Some stupid action piece. Suddenly, I could hear him sniff my neck. If this was before mother's death, I would've found it sexy. Now I saw it for what it really was: a predator smelling it's prey.
“Stop.” I murmured, squirming away from him.
“I wasn't doing anything.”
“I'm not in the mood.”
“You always say that.” He growled.
“I'm just not, ok?”
He hand gave a hard slap into my shoulder. In hindsight it was probably nothing too malicious. Yet it registered a knee-jerk reaction. I elbowed him in the chest.
“What did you do that for?”
“You hit me.”
“I barely did!”
“Yes you did!”
“Suck it up!”
Suddenly we were shouting. Once more the lion roared before me, asking why I was being distant as of late. I defended myself. He reminded me it had been six months since Mum died. I threw a pillow at him. Then he chucked a remote at me. It flew past my shoulder and smashed into the wall.
We both froze. He seemed shocked at what he had done, but the cruel glimmer in his eye told me enough. I couldn't live with him anymore. If I did, who knows how long I would survive. Damien tried to apologise, but I'd already left the room before he could finish. As I paced down the hall, I heard his heavy steps pounding after me. I quickened my pace and rushed out the door before he could touch me.
“JESS!” I could hear his voice echoing as I left the driveway, so I ran. I didn't care if he was a faster runner than me. I didn't want to feel his presence at my back, threatening to stab me when I wasn't looking. I thought about going home, but I knew that wasn't safe. He knew my address. I needed to be somewhere else. I navigated all the streets I knew, all the time never slowing even when I couldn't hear his voice anymore. I walked by the familiar stores and the fish and chip shop, but those were closed or close to closing. Eventually I turned to the beach, which disappeared into the darkness of night.
I suddenly thought of Marina. Would she be there? I hadn't seen her in months so it didn't seem likely I'd see her, especially how things turned out last time. Then again, I had no one else to turn to. I didn't care if she was somewhere in the Indian Ocean, I needed to see her. I ran along the dunes, always looking behind in the fear Damien would show up. It was dark but the shop lights made it a little easier for me to find my way around. I made it to the rockpools, and started to crawl over the rocks to avoid slipping. At times I took a misstep and my arm would plunge into a shallow pool suddenly. My shoes scrapped along the rocky surface, as I noticed the dark pool of water ahead of me. My heart raced. Holding the necklace with the stone she gave me, I told myself she would be there, happy to see me.
I reached the edge. All I could hear were the waves of high tide lapping along the surface and rolling into the Bowl. Then with all I could muster I screamed “MARINA!”
I choked as everything I'd been bottling up poured out. I curled myself into a ball. I didn't even care for the water rushing up around my feet. I just cried out all my frustrations and regret. How stupid was I thinking Damien would fill the hole in my heart? How stupid was I to think Marina wanted to come back?
Then, I felt a clammy hand land on my shoulder. Immediately I screamed, flinching away from the intruder. I feared it was Damien, or worse, some serial killer.
“Jess. Open your eyes. It's me.” A familiar soft voice lured me back to my senses. I opened my eyes. Even in the darkness, I knew Marina's violet eyes when they glowed back at me.
My eyes teared up. “You?”
“B-buy I thar” my mouth could hardly make coherent words. I was partly angry at her, yet I'd missed her so much I felt ashamed to feel this anger.
I felt her slender fingers brush my hair. “I said we would see each other again, and I did.” She smelt like the sea and so much more.
For the second time, I cried. I buried myself into her and let out the pain and relief the last few months had brought. I cried so much that when my tears had dried up it felt like an age had gone by.
“What happened?” She asked. “I sensed a great sadness several months ago but I was too far away to help.”
At that moment, I told her everything that had happened. Again I cried when I accounted the really painful moments, but I felt lighter when I finally got everything off my chest.
“I knew it.” Marina spoke.
She seemed very remorseful and tentative in what she was about to say. “When you told me about Damien, I sensed you were having doubts but I didn't want to say anything.”
“I didn't want to be selfish.”
I wiped my eyes. “Selfish? I don't understand.”
Finally she spoke. “Jess, I didn't want to say this before because I feared you would reject me.”
She blurted it out. “I love you.”
“Love?” I couldn't believe what she had said.
“Not friendship love.” She elaborated. “Love love.”
At that moment it clicked. The way she sat there, beautiful, yet modest. Embarrassed yet graceful. Then there were the times she was intimate, the coy way she would look at me. She even admitted she wasn't into boys when we were teenagers! I didn't know if I should be embarrassed for not spotting the signs before.
She nodded sheepishly. “For years I've wanted to tell you but I didn't want to scare you. When you told me about Damien I thought you'd found your soulmate and I didn't know what to feel.” Suddenly she sniffed. Her words got progressively laboured. “I-I actually cried for 2 days. I was angry at you but I wanted to be happy for you.”
I thought back to that meeting and almost teared up again. I realised the smile she'd been wearing was just a facade. Her voice wavered more and more. “I just feel like the worst mermaid in the world right now! I guess you don't even like me now I've said all of that!”
However, her moment of honesty also awakened something inside of me. For a long time I'd been struggling with my own feelings. I knew she was beautiful and kind, but I always saw her as a friend. Yet every time I was alone, I always missed her. Whenever I thought about her, she couldn't stay out of my mind. Even with my relationship with Damien it never went away. But now I knew what it was.
But I had to be sure.
“Marina.” I asked. She turned her head my way, and I leaned into her lips. They were salty like the sea, but were alluring and caressed my own. I feared for a second she would flinch, but soon she leaned in too. I opened my eyes and saw Marina's eyes glowing a hot pink in the darkness. I didn't need to say anything else. I knew she could sense what I felt but I said it anyway.
“I love you. I'm sorry I didn't say it before.”
I felt her arms hug me in a loving embrace. She didn't say anything but I knew that she'd forgiven me.
“Marina.” I said. “Make me a mermaid.”
Marina gasped. “Really?”
I nodded. “I really want to be with you. When you're not around I feel so alone and I have no one else I can turn to.”
Marina stared at me. I worried that she might talk me out of it, or that she didn't believe my words. Then, her lips turned upwards. “I've been waiting forever for you to say that.”
Once more we embraced, finally relieved of our secrets. Marina then told me to take off my clothes. My jeans and panties were the first to go. If I was going to have a tail, then they wouldn't be needed. The top half was a different story. Even with the sparseness of the beach, it didn't mean someone might not find us together. I was also still embarrassed to show her my breasts after all this time, knowing I wasn't as stacked as her. Marina however convinced me “You're just as beautiful whatever you wear. And you never complained about me nude.” I slowly took my shirt off, then my bra. The air was cool on my skin to the point I could feel goosebumps. I couldn't see Marina's expression but I was thankful she didn't say anything about my breasts. The only thing I kept was the stone necklace that she bought for me during our first summer together.
I contemplated leaving my clothes at the edge of the Bowl, but I didn't want people to think I was murdered. But I didn't want to come back. At least, not yet. Instead, I had Marina hide them away in a special place.
I was shivering in the Bowl when she came back. “Does your spell increase body temperature?” My teeth chattered.
“Seawater always feels cold the first time, but you'll adjust.” She insisted. Then, with her hands on my shoulders, she asked “Are you ready?”
I nodded, though a little frightened. I never saw this spell in practice so I didn't know what would happen.
Marina then stared into my eyes. “Jess, I know it's scary but I need you to relax. Imagine your body becoming numb.”
I remembered a technique I'd picked up whenever studies were getting stressed. I imagined my body turning to stone. First my legs, then my waist, all the way to my head. As soon as Marina was satisfied, she continued. “Just listen to my voice and relax.”
I nodded. Suddenly, I heard Marina whisper something. I couldn't decipher it. They sounded like words from another language. Maybe they were. Yet the more I heard them, the more I could start to understand them. These were instructions to my body: abandon the land and adapt to the sea.
First, I felt an irritation along my neck, but I was too numb to scratch it. My hair tickling along this area didn't help. I felt a hand brush my hair away, tracing the irritation with a wet finger. I could feel them trace ridges at my neck that weren't there before: gills.
A chill went through me as it occurred to me I was changing, yet I wasn't done. The words were continuing to tell me to change. I could feel the tingling run through my body. Any chill I felt before started to dissipate. Soon the tingling went down to my thighs, knees, calves and feet.
Run no more and swim. The spell was telling me. Be one with the sea.
“Be one with the sea” I muttered back.
My thighs touched together, but I didn't feel skin rubbing on skin. It felt rougher. I looked down and saw a pinkish glow surround my legs. I tried to move them but some force was preventing me. I realised then I'd gone beyond the point of no return. My heart raced, but instead of fear it was excitement. I was becoming the very creature I admired and I couldn't feel any happier.
Through the glow, I saw my legs slowly close in on each other. I could feel the scales covering my legs rub on each other. Then they stuck together. At first they felt like two limbs connected by a thin thread. But the more they fused, the less I could feel two separate limbs. It was as if they were melting into each other, becoming a united appendage. As if to compensate, I could feel new muscles tense and bulge around my pelvis. At the tip of my tail, I could feel the numbness consume the area my feet used to be. No longer could I feel toes or bones. Instead I felt something flexible and flimsy floating amongst the water: a tail fin. But it wasn't just physical. I could feel new thoughts arrive into my brain. New muscle memory was telling me how to swim with this tail. Bend here, twist here. Kick like this. I hadn't even tried it and already I was excited.
“Now mermaid, be free!”
Then the glow faded and the whispers faded. I could feel the water around my bottom half, but it wasn't flowing the same way as it had before. I tried to move it but it felt a lot heavier than it had before.
“Welcome to mermaidhood Jessie.” She declared.
I touched the tail with my hands, I expected skin, but instead felt fish scales. At first I thought a fish had crept into the water, but the sensation of my fingers on my legs made it sink in. I just about cried. “Thank you.”
She wrapped a hand around me and we sat together for some time, admiring the gift she had given me. Then, Marina spoke up. “Let's try it.”
“Really? But, I don't know how.”
“It's not so hard.” Marina bent her tail. “Pretend you're using your knees.”
I did the same. To my surprise, the tail reacted the way she described. It felt like my legs were hiding under that appendage. Then, she helped me do some laps around the Bowl. Again I had to wince at the cold water splashing on my face, but couldn't bring myself to fully submerge myself. I knew I was now able to breathe underwater, but a part of me was still anxious to try it. What surprised me more was how quickly I managed to pick up the motions of my tail. Despite Marina giving me some pointers, something in my mind was telling me what to do. Some of the unease I had before started to dissipate.
Soon, the sky was starting to get lighter and it was time to leave. I felt really nervous. Even with the higher tide, I'd never tried to jump with a tail before.
“I'll help you across.” Marina held her hand in mine. “We just need to build up some speed. Then, when I say kick, you kick.”
I still felt uncertain. I was still new with my appendage. However, feeling Marina's hand in mine gave me some comfort. As long as she was there, I would be fine.
I took one last glance at the beach where I grew up. I thought of the wonderful times I had with my family and friends. Never again I would see them. I grabbed the necklace with my other hand, my fingers rubbing against the rough surface for comfort. Then we started to move, our tails kicking through the water. At first things were slow as we swam around the bowl. However, things soon got faster and faster. I didn't know if it was both of us, or Marina, but we were going a lot faster than my practice laps. We circled around at a good pace, my stomach starting to cramp from the nausea. Then, on the fifth lap, we darted toward the ocean. Marina dragged me under and I complied. On instinct I held my breath. Ahead was the wall of the Bowl, surging before us.
“KICK!” I heard Marina scream, and I complied. I felt my tail violently move in the water and before I knew it, my body was surrounded by a brisk breeze. I opened my eyes. Suddenly I could see the ocean below me. It was like I was in an aeroplane looking down. Then the Ocean started to rush toward me fast, my body tilting more and more toward the surface.
The water impacted heavily onto my body. At the initial shock I opened my eyes, seeing nothing but murky darkness around me. I gasped, feeling the water rush into my lungs. I tried to cough, but the water kept filling into my body. Desperately I tried to breathe and suddenly felt relief. That first breath underwater surprised me more than I expected. Within a few seconds I found that the discomfort I was feeling was gone.
“I-I can breathe!” I noticed I could talk fine underwater too.
“Of course you can.” Marina's voice piped up. I turned to her. Even with her hair floating and twisting around, she was just as beautiful underwater as she was above it. She pointed to the gills exposed on her neck too. “It's a good perk, no?”
I nodded, adjusting to the cold, wet environment around me. By now the sun was coming up, and the murky waters started to shine brighter and brighter.
Marina tighten her grip around my hand. “Are you afraid?”
I nodded my head. “A little.”
Her purple lips curled upwards. “It's okay. I'll be here to help you out.”
The moment she said that, I could feel my fears evaporate. It was as if her smile was engulfing me, filling me with warmth. For the first time, I wondered if I could sense her emotions the same way she could mine.
“Thanks.” I embraced her, once more kissing her on the lips. Again I could feel my body become warm. Obviously, she liked it too.
Then we started our first journey as lovers, our hands entwined.