To Be a Mermaid

Part I // Part II

Fuchsia had sunken into a deep, dark hole of depression. She stopped laughing, singing, and dancing like the rest of her mermaid family. She stopped socializing altogether.

Sisters Amber, Turquoise, and Emerald confronted her.

Amber, the eldest, was first to speak. Trying to gather what had happened, she started with, “so you met a captain…”

“Not a captain, THE captain,” Fuchsia abruptly corrected.

“You met the captain,” Amber rolled her eyes, “and one year later, he sends you a letter telling you to meet him at the mermaid ball, and then he never shows up. And now you’ve given up on being a mermaid?”

Fuchsia confessed that there was more to the story. She explained to her sisters how her and the captain had actually been writing each other letters back and forth. With each letter, she thought of him more. And then she dreamed of him.

Mermaids and mermen must always stay on guard and keep their distance from the humans in order to continue surviving as a species. There’s no way they could peacefully coexist. Humans were greedy and lacked the magical essence and intuitive powers of merpeople.

Fuchsia’s sisters were always hard on her, so she expected to be met with scold and criticism. Instead, they were more understanding than she’d imagined they’d be.

“We’ve all had occasional contact with the human world,” Torquoise baragined, “Of course, you’re curious. Whether it be captains, sailors, pirates, who ever. We knew you were hoping to see him at the mermaid ball. Just don’t be writing to him every day. But it’s fine now. It’s over.”

“You don’t understand,” Fuchsia shook her head with stern disagreement, “I may have not spilt any mermaid secrets to him, but I was close. I was very, very, very close. So very close to betraying the entire merpeople species.”

“We all make mistakes, we learn, and we grow,” Amber consulted, “it may have been hurtful that he broke a promise, but it was a blessing in disguise. You avoided disaster and everything is fine.”

Fuchsia was extremely resistant, “I put myself in danger! All the merpeople in danger!” She panicked, “the scariest part is that this should have been my wakeup call: never trust captains, or any human for that matter. And yet, all I can think about now is how to see him again, how to get him back.”

The sisters looked at her with concern. “We just want you to be happy again,” they all agreed.

Fuchsia decided: she would visit Mother Mermaid, confess, and have her mermaid powers completely stripped.

The Mother Mermaid has existed for thousands of years, she is immortal and indestructable. She is the last surviving lady of the first generation of mermaids to ever exist. She has been here since the beginning of time. If the mermaid species collapsed completely, she would still remain alive, but forced to exist in a smaller and much less powerful form. She is essentially the one true goddess, for all merpeople.

“Mother mermaid,” Fuchsia confessed, down on her knees, “I have betrayed what it means to be a mermaid.”

“Don’t explain yourself. I know all,” Mother Mermaid replied. And it’s true, she is always watching and she always knows everything.

Fuscia braced herself for the infamous wrath of Mother Mermaid. Having never met her before, she only heard the terrifying myths. That’s why she was so shocked to be met with forgivness.

“I’m taking away your powers, but you will still remain half-mortal,” Mother Mermaid explained, “I’m sending you out into the human world, and do not return until you can explain to me what it means to be a mermaid. Do this for me because I want you to have another chance. I believe in you.”

Teary eyed, Fuscia nodded with graciousness and then the Mother Mermaid set her free into the human world.

What was a half-mermaid supposed to do?

Fuscia found herself in a beach town on a crowded boardwalk where she still had a beautiful sight of the ocean. She sat on a bench for hours, watching people rush by. Children and parents screaming, teens and adults glued to their phones, and declining seniors just trying to keep up.

Immediately, she spotted the separation between people & merpeople: distraction. Everyone was in such a hurry to go nowhere. This was supposed to be a vacation spot, yet no one seemed to be relaxed.

After hours of sitting on a boardwalk bench, trying to examine her subjects, Fuchsia realized she would have to take a more intimate approach. If she really wanted to study human nature, it would be best to focus on one person at a time.

That’s when Fuchsia spotted a boy of who she guessed to be of similar age, with a glistening aura that stood out from all the rest. Her intuition was much weaker, but she still felt a strong energy.

“Excuse me,” she approached him.

“Yeah?” He politely greeted.

“Sir, do you mind if I follow you around, and occasionally take notes?”

Speechless, he gave her an uncomfortable smile that turned into awkward laughter.

“I’ll be quiet, you won’t even know I’m here,” she added, noticing his hesitance. “Although I’m sure ill have a few questions, if that’s okay.”

“Uhh,” he stuttered, “where are your friends at? Who put you up to this?”

“It’s just me!” She answered, “it’s for a project.”

“Like a school project?”

“Sure! It’s about mer…” she quickly caught herself, “it’s about, uh, sea men!”

He burst out into more laughter.

“It’s actually a very serious matter, but I appreciate your humor,” she shrugged.

“Sure, you can follow me home and I can guarantee you an A-plus,” he smirked.

“It’s not graded: it’s either a pass or a fail. But if I could go home with you then that would be great!”

“So, um, how much have you had to drink?” He asked, looking around anxiously.

“Like, ocean water?”

The boy stared at her with confusion as Fuchsia took notice of the paranoid and untrusting nature of humans.

Less than a few minutes later, a friend of the boy walked over, chomping down a bag of fries and sipping on a paper bagged drink.

“This girl is totally wasted,” he explained to the friend, “she ain’t got no friends with her, no phone… she’s telling me she’s sleeping on the beach tonight.”

“I’m not drunk,” Fuchsia defended herself.

“Dude, she’s not drunk,” the other guy pointed, “look at her pupils, she’s on some weird drug. She’s gone.”

“She wants to come back to the hotel.”

“Then take her!”

“She’s gonna wake up tomorrow and have no memory of this.”

“Just bring her back, c’mon.”

“Look, I don’t want to take advantage of you,” the first boy turned and looked at Fuchsia.

“What are you talking about?” Fuchsia said, “you’d be doing me a favor. This is a very important assignment. I mean, I guess I can find someone else to research…”

“Hold up,” the second guy said, “you can research me tonight instead.”

“Wait,” the first guy stopped his friend, “she came to me first.”

“If you two have a hotel together then I can research both of you!” Fuchsia offered.

“Dude,” the one guy slurred to the other, “she’s not even that drunk.”

“Look, can I follow you around or not?” Fuchsia lost her patience.

“Let’s get more drinks!” The second guy offered, and she agreed.

The three walked down the boardwalk and stopped at a beach bar where they could bury their feet in the sand. Fuchsia declined a drink, preferring to observe, but the one boy insisted she have a pina colada.

“So what exactly is this project you’re working on?” He asked.

“The human experience,” Fuchsia replied. “Wait a minute, I’m the one who’s supposed to be asking the questions! Gosh, you humans are so tricky!” She tilted her head.

“I told you she’s on something,” he nudged the friend.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Fuchsia was hit with a huge wave of sadness. She found herself yearning for the captain like never before. With each sip, she felt like she could hear the call of his ship.

Fuchsia felt overcome with loneliness. Perhaps it was not actually distraction, but loneliness, that defined the human condition. But when she imagined the captain, she never pictured loneliness. The ocean was his mistress and it was all he ever needed. He was never alone. Was he even human?

“I have to go find the captain!” Fuchsia shot up from her chair.

“Wait!” they stopped her, “What about your project? You were about to ask questions?”

“Right,” Fuchsia nodded, sitting back down and snapping out of her daze. Jeez, being a human really is distracting, she thought. “I was going to ask,” she continued, “what does it mean to be a human? Coming from a real human being, obviously.”

“Uh, that sounds like a science question,” one of the boys replied, “Google it.”

“Idiot,” the other one said, “she don’t have a phone!”

“Okay, chill,” he pulled out his phone and read, “to have the ability to…”

“No, no,” Fuchsia shook her head with frustration, “I told you I want to hear the answer from a real human being! Not a robot!” Perhaps not distraction nor loneliness defined the human condition, but stupidity! She thought. “Tell me, as a real human being…” she slowed down her words, “what does it mean to be a human?”

“It means you like to drink. Can I get you another?”

Fuchsia stared at both boys blankly and paused for a moment. “Thank you so much for your participation, unfortunately I will have to choose new subjects to research. Goodbye and good luck,” she gave them a polite smile and then walked away.

Something about being human was making her feel especially irritable and she had no time for beating around the bush. She just wanted to be a mermaid again. She didn’t realize being human would make her feel this heavy. And yet, as heavy as she felt, there was still a gaping, hallow hole inside of her.

What does it mean to be a mermaid? I’ll never know, and I’ll never be able to go back…

In darkness, Fuchsia ran through the beach to the edge of the ocean. She dipped her toes in the water. It was ice cold this time of night, but the water felt like home. She missed having a tail, but could still admire the arch of her feet.

These feet may never let me swim those deep shores I once lived in, but they can walk me to places I’ve never gone before…

Fuchsia had lost hope in ever becoming a mermaid again, but perhaps this was not such a bad thing after all. There were no more mermaid secrets to keep. No more special powers to protect. There was absolutely nothing left to lose!

How uncomfortable, it felt to be human. And yet, how opportunistic!