My knees touch the sandy shore as I slowly crumple into a kneeling position.  The moonlight sparkles off random grains of fine sand, while leaving whips of silver thread on the ebbing water.  My palms shiver slightly as they press meekly to my face, acting as pathetic dams as they try to stop the constant flow of my tears.  I can feel the warmth of my red face, as well as feel the sticky residue of the salty bodily fluid.  The lone sound of the tide provides me some solace, reminding me that not just one waterworks is going on tonight.

 

I spread my knees slightly wider in the fine sand, my head turning upward to look at the moon.  As my fingers crack open to view the full moon, my tears blur its light, giving it a kaleidiscope appearance.  My hands drop slowly to the now onrushing water at my knees.  The tears perspirated on my hand mix with the tide, mixing and blending into this other, much grander pool of salty liquid.  For a moment, I wonder if there is someone else on the opposite side of this ocean, sharing their own tears, adding their own soul to this ocean of now black liquid.  Is this why the oceans are so salty?  People crying their hearts into them?

 

Like a pious Muslim, I bend my face down to the sliver of ocean water now brushing against the sandy floor.  My eyes open in the water, rinsed by them.  My quiet sobbing halts for a second as I collapse completely into the thin film of teary water.  Laying still, and letting the water seep under my chest and legs, I can feel the sadness welling up inside me.  I should get up, so I can breathe, or else I’m going to get a mouthful of sand and water.  But I let the growing ball of pain and sadness pulsate until it makes my body shiver and reverberate.  With my eyes shut tight so as not to let any sand in, my face shivers as I try desperately to hold back the tears, the inhale of grief.  Going against my natural impulses, I inhale while my head is submerged.  I feel the saltwater rush into my lungs, and the swirling sands seem to stay at bay from my mouth and nostrils.

 

I anticipate a burning sensation in my throat, but strangely I feel as if the water were some form of silky oxygen; the water invigorates, refreshes me.  More tears expel from my eyes as I exhale the water, my throat vibrating heavily as a troubled groan escapes it.  I dig my hands and knees into the sinking sand and head directly into the deeper water.  Another gulp of water.  More of my tears and anguish intermingle with the surrounding watery atmosphere.

 

My head tells me I need oxygen, but the turmoil in my stomach and chest don’t care what kind of oxygen they receive, as long as they can continue purging.  The saltwater filling my mouth tastes like the very tears I tasted running down my cheeks when it was exposed to air.  I want to be totally engulfed in these tears.  I head deeper and deeper into the calm waves, taking deeper breathes of my new oxygen.  My crying now hinges on the border of hysteria, and my eyes remain shut, as if I don’t want to face this bizarre turn of events.

 

A scream of sadness bursts forth from my chest, and I hear it muffled in the water.  I look up and finally open my eyes to see the liquid moonlight dancing on the water’s edge about 5 feet above me.  Pushing off against the sandy floor, I jet upwards with a weird source of propulsion.  The back of my head breaks the water’s edge as I snap my body back, exposing my chest to the heavens.  Miraculously, I get my entire body out of the water.  I do this screaming, the last mouthful of saltwater blending with the air to produce a gurgling bellow.  A strange sound I’ve never heard before.  This angry, extraordinary moment seems to suspend in time, and I have enough time to open my eyes and see the moon.  My body is suspended above the water; why haven’t I fallen by now?  For the first time, I forget the pain and grief inhabiting my body and mind, and I look around me hesitantly.  The waves continue making their rhythmic beat against the shore and lapping against each other.  I look down to see my big toe just above the surface of the calm water.  As my head slowly rises, I see as many as 7 people submerged waist-deep in the water ahead of me.  My eyes widen in confusion; these people are marble white, shirtless, some males, some females.  Their bodies look they were sculpted out of some white marble, and their eyes- they are as light and diluted like some translucent jelly.

 

They stare blankly at me, showing no signs of any emotion.  They form a loose triangle, and the one closest to me, a women, speaks to me.  But her mouth doesn’t open.  I can hear her in my mind; my tears are still curiously flowing form my eyes as I hear, no, feel her words in my head-

 

“You are at a crossroads right now.”, her voice ebbs in my mind, as if the wind blowing against wind chimes.  “You feel great sorrow right now, and you are connecting to a different plain of emotion, of being, of existence.”

 

I stare at her, bewildered, but still grasping her words.  My body continues to levitate about the now impossibly calm ocean surface.

 

“You can either go back to your world, your life, and face or deal with whatever has caused you such pain…”, she continued, “…or, you can join us and enter a different world.  There are more of us, and we have all been through the same level of sorrow and beyond that which you are suffering right now.  We live highly discreet lives, away from the world which caused us such grief.”

 

My mouth instinctively open to ask the women something, “What will happen?”  I don’t even ask who they are first; I feel a strange connection and understanding with them…

 

“You will become one of us- the Above World likes to call us many things, but you would perhaps recognize us as mer-people.”

 

A tiny gasp escaped my throat, my right hang coming up half-way to half-heartedly hide my astonishment.

 

“We live a tranquil, long existence, the other creatures of the sea providing a different brand of company.  The dolphins and the whales are the closest things to human affection and human spirit that you will encounter.  Know that once you enter this world, there is no turning back; you will be one of us for eternity.”

 

I stayed hanging there, hanging before one of the most bizarre choices of my life.  My head turned back to gaze at the terrestrial lights of the small town beyond the beach.  Images of people, things and events flash through my mind, an endless stream of them.  Like large, crude road bumps and pot holes, sensations and memories of pain flash through my mind and body along with the other memories and thoughts.  If this is my life flashing before my eyes, it has no doubt been a grief-stricken one.  What do I have back there?  Who or what do I have to hold onto?  This present question forces my head around to look upon these mysterious, silent people again.  I look up at the moon, and inhale my first breath of air since I laid my face in the waves on the shore.  Inhaling deeply and slowly, I hold it in my lungs for what feels like a minute.  I close my eyes, and admit my answer the same time I exhale.

 

“ Very well”, the woman said serenely.

 

My body, totally dry now from being suspended for so long, dropped slowly into the water.  As I looked down at my feet, I could see and feel a small tingling sensation starting in my toes.  This odd sensation warped and spread until it felt like someone was injecting honey into my legs.  My hands came up quickly to rub my eyes; was I seeing things?  The fronts of my legs turned as pale as the moonlight as they bonded together, the back of my legs turning a dark blue.  I let out a moan as the rest of my skin started crawling, or falling asleep- I couldn’t tell.  This metamorphosis continued until I was fully submerged in the now lukewarm water.  The strange bodily sensations stopped, and I touched my thigh with my hand.  Scales.  Glistening scales.  My hand moved up to my stomach, to find my skin more rubbery, like that of a dolphin.

 

I swam away with these mer-people, and stopped to look back at the world I was leaving behind.  My mouth opened slightly and I could taste the ocean mist on my tongue.  No, it wasn’t the ocean; two more tears had escaped both my eyes.  I turned solemnly around, and propelled myself farther and farther away, giving myself to this new life.

 

 

 

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