Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Long Wait for a Mermaid

(Mark and Marina the mermaid part 7  With a chance that Mark has got Marina the mermaid pregnant he plans to meet her at a secret location close to where she will give birth)
As we parted that last day on the beach close to where I had rented my holiday shack I looked at her not wanting to let her go. She glowed with health and I loved that her body of necessity was well covered with a soft layer of subsurface fat to keep her insulated against the cold water.

We had talked again of many things; none of importance and as the tide returned up the beach again and started to hide the rock pools she edged nearer the water and pulled me with her. We both swam out into the sea. The waves broke over us and although I could still touch bottom the strength of the waves kept pushing me further into shore. She then let go of my hand and without saying another word disappeared under the surface. I watched where I thought she would be headed but braver than me she did not look back but was gone from my sight.

I felt terrible. I had another two or three days left at the shack and spent each day returning to the beach hoping that she had changed her mind and wanted to see me again. That did not happen. So on the last day I packed up and, loaded my stuff in the car which had not been driven once all the time I had been there and returned home.

I had noted in my diary what day I should start visiting the cove where she had planned to be and had that anxious thought that she didn’t have a diary so how would she work out when to look out for me? Isn’t it curious, that every advancement that man achieves; he loses more than he gains? It was only when I slowly worked out that she could calculate the time and the passage of days by the moon quarters and by the tides and of course by the sun that I relaxed a little. There were probably a lot more clues too that humans had long forgotten or had never worked out for themselves. I will tell you a secret though, I pretended to be her and collected a pile of 30 cockle shells and each day when I woke up I would move one from the pile to a new one. So I knew that when the first pile was emptied it was the day we should meet hoping she was doing the same.

So I opened up my house again, spent a whole day cleaning it up from a few days of neglect and I watered the garden, pruned the roses and returned to being a wasteful human again. Then I spoke to the kids on the phone and settled back into a normal life as seen by them but an anxious one for me as I relived those few days with her. I did think that perhaps I had been manipulated by her but even if she had, I didn’t mind, it had been worth it.

I checked with the Parks and Wildlife office about doing a study of the interaction of land and marine life in the conservation park where I knew she would be and they were enthusiastic and encouraged me to talk to the rangers on site, so I harvested a few leaflets and took them home.

I took a trip down there and spent some time talking to the rangers about birdlife and vegetation and the possibility of seeing other animals in the park and on the shore. So they knew I would be a frequent visitor and hopefully I would be just as a common sight as the honeyeaters, lizards and crabs that were already there.

And so it was; me with my backpack and binoculars, walking boots and sunglasses and I now barely received a nod from the staff if ever they saw me.

The cove that Marina had told me about was not easy to access. The larger more frequented beach was bad enough with warning signs and discouragement to enter the water and of not approaching any sea lions or fur seals that were resting on the beach. Her little cove however was quite a battle to access only by leaving the footpaths and making a precarious descent down to the tiny beach through thick scrub and clambering over rocks.

Having descended to the coarse sand and shingle I looked to see where the high tide mark might be then I ventured out as far as I could without entering the water to see if there were any signs of her being there. There weren’t which was both good and bad. One, she was being careful; but two, she may not have got here yet. The main thing was that I was sure that her choice of such a secluded place was well thought out indeed. This was especially so when I made my way back to my car and got lost over and over again and was lucky to get out the park before closing time.

I began to take photos of the things I was supposed to be interested in so if anyone asked how I was doing I would produce the camera and find evidence of the little bird or lizard to prove that I really did know what I was doing.

Then I experimented with leaving the car outside the park so if in future I stayed after closing time they wouldn’t set up a search party looking for me, thinking I was still in the park. This was just in case I couldn’t leave Marina if I found her.

Next I set up a cache of food and water hidden close to the cove including long life milk and dried food in plastic zip lock containers. My diary and shells told me that I had less than a week to wait so I spent a few days at home and then returned to the cove with just one day to go.  I regularly walked into the park with binoculars round my neck and talked to no-one. Unnoticed and as fluid as the movement of the tides I made my way to the cove and back day by day.

However my longing for her was overwhelming, if she didn’t appear I would be devastated.


  1. what a love story told beautifully.

  2. You remind me of days long ago when I'd run to the window to see every time I heard a car and thought it might be his.
    Thank you.

  3. But in waiting for an appearance a new life is grown..and not just the one in her tummy..i love the pile of cockle shells..made me think of silver bells..and pretty girls all in a row..

  4. There can be learning and growth in the waiting as well as the eventual reunion.

  5. At least she's keeping him fit with all that walking about, backpacking it. Let's hope she turns up soon, even Longlife milk goes off eventually.

  6. Possessed by love--it can make a person do some outrageous things! Great storytelling.

  7. You are such a romantic. This tale is proof positive. I can hardly wait to read this next episode.