Mark and Marina the Mermaid (Part 2)
I bet you thought I would go back to that beach the next day to meet my mermaid didn’t you? Yes, you were right, but she wasn’t there. You talk to someone who is so different and attractive for a few minutes, arrange another meet, but they disappoint you and stand you up. Now you will say that she can’t stand as she is a mermaid so perhaps I’ll have to say she gives you the flip of her tail instead.
I stayed there most of the morning. Luckily I took some refreshments, a thermos of coffee, an iced fruit bun and an apple. They were all gone by eleven in the morning and I got fed up just walking up and down the beach and wading in the rock pools feeling sorry for myself. I am glad I was on my own as I started to talk to the others occupants of the beach, the seagulls, a pied oystercatcher, and an assortment of crabs and to illustrate my anxiety I was even daft enough to stick my head under the water and call out a bubbly “Where are you Marina?”
Did I have it bad!
I was feeling peckish again so started to walk back through the shallows to return to the shack again. I was just making my way round the jutting out cliff that separated her beach from the main strand when I heard the cry “maaark, maaark!” repeated. It wasn’t her, only a gull circling overhead. Probably a false clue but it was enough for me to reconsider, so I retraced my steps and found my way back to the rock where I had first seen her.
Yes, she was there, just sitting at the edge of the sand with her tail in the water, splashing about; picking up a crab or two and talking to them.
I guessed what she was saying even though I couldn’t hear her. It was almost certainly “Where is Mark, have you seen him?”
As each crab waved a ‘no’ or opened up their claws to indicate bewilderment she put them back down on the sand again to let them scamper off.
I ran up to her “I’m going to kiss you.”
“I know you are.”
“You’re all red around your tummy. Have you grazed yourself?”
She looked down, covered it with her hand and now her face blushed too. “You are not supposed to mention that.”
She paused then said “It is a sign I feel sexy.”
I knelt down beside her and kissed her. “Good.” I said.
“You got the message then.”
I nodded in reply. “You got held up did you?”
“Oh you know the tide, oil in the water, bills to pay… Is time important to you?”
“No, you are important to me. You make me feel different, warmer, caring, and all that sort of thing. So I started to worry when you didn’t show…what do you mean bills to pay?”
She laughed grabbed me by the neck and pulled me to her and kissed me in return. “I can feel you loving me,” she said; then went on, “The bills to pay were the pelicans just up the coast a bit.” Marina waved her hand northwards, “I just thought it would be fun to talk to them and feed them a few fish.”
I nodded as though I understood. I was just going to say “Why can’t they catch their own …” When she turned to me reading my mind, “Of course they can catch their own but if I am kind to them one day they will be kind to me in return. It is like your diplomacy, living together in harmony. I help them, they help me. Don’t you get it?”
“Why should birds, fish or crustaceans help you if you have just eaten their brother?”
Marina raised her eyebrows in disbelief. “In our world we all help each other even to the extent of accepting that we eat each other for survival.” She paused, thought a little, and then said. “You eat your pet chicken’s eggs; their babies. You go all soppy and cuddle baby animals, yet eat veal and lamb and so on.”
She smiled at me, reached out and touched my face. “Are you hungry now? Let’s go and get some food.” She rolled over and started pulling me into the sea.
“I am not a strong swimmer.”
“Poof!” she seemed to say as she sat in front of me and pulled my clothes off me and threw them up on the sand. I could see her eying me up and down.
“Our men have pouches for all that stuff” she laughed.
“Mmm, a bit.” She was biting her lip to stop herself from laughing again.
“Am I that bad?”
She shook her head, “Have you got a bag?” I had to think what she meant but realised it was for our lunch so I went back to my pile of clothes and extracted a plastic bag. She started to look very sallow and said, “We can’t take that in the water.” She looked around her and pointed to another pool a bit further away. “Go and gather up some of the seaweed in there. You must never bring plastic bags into the sea. So I sheepishly gathered up the strands of seagrass strands from the adjacent pool and gave them to her. She took the bundle from me and deftly started weaving the strands together to form a rudimentary shopping bag. She turned it round a number of times to check it was to her satisfaction then wove in a thread of seaweed to act as a drawstring then handed it to me, nodding at it with satisfaction. She then pulled me into the water as if I were a naughty child. Even swimming with one arm dragging me along, she quickly found the deeper part.
“Big breath,” she said; then pulled me by the hand down under the surface. On reaching the bottom she let go of me making sure I held on to a rock, she then started gathering shellfish and brought them back to me to put in the bag making sure the opening of the bag was upside-down. She also gathered some frilly seaweed and popped in a couple of slow moving fish that ventured too close. I was just about to burst for want of air so I let go of the rock; she nodded at me and pushed me up at the same time. I took in an almighty deep breath as I hit the surface and sighed with relief, still gasping.
Marina took the bag from me, so I could swim back to shore and followed on behind. As I emerged from the water, I checked to see if anyone else was on the beach before flopping down naked by my belongings. Marina just sat in the shallows checking her catch letting the seawater run out but not allowing anything to escape. “I will have to put my bathers back on.” I said.
“I am not supposed take all my clothes off on the beach.”
“But we are by ourselves, there is nobody else and that silver gull up there will tell us if anyone comes” she said, pointing to a small gull apparently patrolling overhead.
“So he’s another friend?”
“It’s a she. She lost her right foot a few months ago and I fixed it; so she owes me.”
As Marina shared out the shell fish, the seaweed and one fish each, I wished I was part of her world. Everything seemed so easy, sensible, beautiful, exciting and right. I really loved her. “You can touch me in a minute,” she said reading my mind and prised open a cockle with her fingers then popped it into her mouth while I struggled with mine. Later as I stroked her body and kissed it I noticed that her back was much darker than her front; this phenomenon even extending down to her tail. Then it twigged that she was more difficult to see in the water from above and the same from below this way, just like the dolphins. It was a defence mechanism.