Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Real Love

(Mark and Marina the mermaid part 9. Click on Mermaid in the labels bar for previous episodes.)

After about the fifth month we stopped making love but she was happy for me just to hold her and talk to the little one inside her as I lay my head on her tummy. Slowly her breasts enlarged and softened and just as she was leaving after my visit in the ninth month she didn’t reply when I said I would see her again after another moons cycle. It had got quite wintry and finding my way through the bush and leaving as little evidence as possible of my tracks was becoming more and more difficult.

I had exercised a measure of discipline on myself which meant not seeing Marina as often as I wanted but strictly once a month and even then contact was uncertain and for very short periods only. In the summer and autumn months it was fine but as winter approached she was always worried about finding her way back to her safe haven, wherever that was, without being molested by the bullies in the ocean. In my mind the baby should arrive very soon but its non appearance became more a worry to me than to Marina. She couldn’t tell me exactly how many weeks it was normal to carry her calf but she was just relaxed enough to wait it out whatever the period. A dolphin carries for about 10 months so I guessed it would be less than that but perhaps more than the humans nine months as that time was already here.

Whenever the park rangers saw me and asked how I was getting on I always came up with some new bit of idle chat for them about sightings of the rare birds that did occasional cross my path. I saw a glossy black cockatoo one day and got quite excited that it should be in the park. I asked if ever one was seen in the park and they started to get enthused that there might be one and asked where I had seen it. So I merely said I must have been mistaken as I didn’t even manage to get a photograph and that it was close to the car park which didn’t seem right.

Marina knew about my store of food hidden away and often I would notice that it had been raided, almost certainly by her as she would sometimes leave a seashell to say that she had been and that was her thankyou note.

By the end of the tenth month I was visiting more often than I should but would often walk into the park as unobtrusively as possible. There was no sign at the cove that she had been for visiting but one night as I made an uncomfortable nest for myself to sleep in overnight I thought I heard the familiar “Maaark” cry that signalled that she was around. As it was too late for most birds to be flying around I felt sure it was her and dared to call back “Maaareena” just once in an as unhuman voice as I could.

There was no further call and gradually I settled back down again to wait out the night and must have fallen asleep as the next thing I knew it was about five in the morning and still pitch dark. She was lying next to me with her little baby tucked in with her between the two of us.

“Marina” I whispered.

“Shush,” she said, “he is still asleep, “You go back to sleep too.” With that she reached over and put her hand over and patted me just as though I was a baby too.

We stayed like that for another hour; me scarcely breathing, waiting for it to get light, and 
desperate to see the two of them properly. As the pale dawn finally broke she removed her hand from me and decided to check on the baby who had no hair and was attached to one of her breasts, sucking lazily and snuffling quietly to himself.

Knowing how sensitive she might be about him I asked “May I touch him?”

She nodded, but just as I was about to, she touched my hand to check that it was not too warm, which would give him a fright or that the fingernails were not too long and might scratch him. When she was satisfied, she nodded and I slowly touched and caressed his cool back and arms and marvelled at his little tail which wiggled slightly at I stroked it. I then reached over and touched Marina on the neck and the face; then I stroked her arm that was wrapped around the baby. “You are so clever.” I said.

She smiled and hummed in satisfaction as she reached over and touched my face as well. “What will you name him “I asked.

“Ocean” she said simply and sadly, still touching me and stroking me softly.

I had a nagging feeling about her, “You are leaving me, aren’t you?”

“How did you guess?”

“You will be busy bringing Ocean up and teaching him your ways. You might tell him about me and the humans on the land. But for now you have made sure there is at least one mer creature to keep all your hopes for the future alive, so even the man that loves you is less important than ensuring our Ocean survives and is not seduced by the way of the land. I know myself that if scientists knew that you existed, you would be caught and exploited and put into a sanctuary and studied and looked upon as oddities and you would lose more by being safe and protected than being free.” Marina nodded as she gripped hold of my hand.

I went on “I love you so much, but in loving you this way, I too want to protect you to make you safe, keep you for myself and not let you go free to make your own decisions. However you must raise Ocean so he will know the ways of the sea and survive independent of man. If I was always on hand, he would want to ride in a car or even a plane, he would want to learn to read and use a computer, wiggle to music and wear clothes. But for everything he would learn he would forget something important or even laugh at the lessons of the sea.”

“You should have been a merman Mark.” She paused then said, “No, I don’t mean that. A merman would have left me by now. But you don’t want to leave me do you?”

The gift of telepathy has just about been lost to man but as the three of us held onto each other in love, I tried desperately to tell Ocean how much I loved him. As I did so, kissing him and nuzzling into him, Marina stroked me tenderly nodding her approval and tracing her fingers over my face crying all the time.

“I have changed my mind.” She said still crying after being quiet for some time. “I agree to see you once a year but it will be always on the shortest day and it will be by the rock on the beach we first met. I will always be there at sunrise when no other humans are likely to be there.

“The tide won’t always suit, but I will find a way if I am to see you both again.” I replied.

“I know you will. I never knew about true love until I met you.”

Ocean had stopped feeding and had closed his eyes. “Hold him and bring to him to me in the water,” she said.

I took my son in my arms and Marina watched and nodded as I carefully walked at a slow pace over the shingle not wanting to part from her and then I waited for her to follow me. She entered the water and as I was about to place Ocean back in her arms she shook her head, “No he can swim Mark” and then said proudly; “He is a merchild.”

So I placed him gently in the water and he turned and swam easily to her and they both disappeared into the surf swimming alongside each other and were soon lost from view.


  1. The desire to be together is thwarted by things outside of their control. Real love is always bittersweet that way. Or almost always. Good writing!

  2. Utterly delightful! This one episode encapsulates your own, gentle, loving, caring character to a 'T'. I don't know if you intend to, but you could stop the tale right here - all has been said. Really, really good.

  3. Lost from view but not heart and mind..why must real love be so hard..maybe there is an end in this beginning..

  4. As I am not up to date with your story, and visiting from 3WW, I will simply stop in to say Happy New Year; and good writing in 2013.

  5. aw at least she will meet him once a year such love should continue. A beautiful love story.

  6. This is so sweet. Real love lets go.