I expect you want to know whether I ever saw Marina and our merchild Ocean again. Doing what is right is never the easiest course. In this case I had no say I was given just the one option of being able to see both Marina and our son Ocean again just once a year in mid winter on a beach not easy to walk on even in the holiday season when the access was merely difficult let alone the winter when it was quite hazardous as in the cold and wet there was the danger of high seas and punishing winds. So it was that I made my way in the pre-dawn on that shortest day of the year to the beach where we had first made love.
The wind blew coldly, the full moon was reluctant to be seen, and there was rain or sea spray in the air that had swirled inland from the turbulent waters. Curiously I wasn’t worrying for myself but for a year old baby swimming with his mother coming ashore to see his father. I wished I had a blanket to wrap him up in; I certainly needed one. The pale wintry dawn was thinking about if not actually promising its arrival as I sat down in as sheltered position as I could find. If any seagulls had been given the task of calling out “Maaark” to alert me of Marina’s imminent arrival they had reneged and found somewhere else to shelter instead.
“She will come, she promised,” I kept saying to myself. I assumed she would check for all possible threats and hazards before arriving, so waited patiently. Just after dawn I saw her beach herself and I ran excitedly down to her side on the vacant shore.
With my arms wrapped around her I cried out “Where is he? Where is Ocean?”
“In the water at my feet.” She said calmly, “He will not surface until I give him the signal.” Then with no apparent signal from her at all he came up alongside her and she placed an arm around him. I had been parted from them too long; clearly she had used telepathy to signal the all clear.
Still holding on to her with one hand I reached out and touched his hand with mine. Even at that young age he glanced up at her, received a nod of approval (and hopefully a telepathic message as well) put his lips against my hand and sucked at it. I had such an overwhelming feeling of love for them both that Marina smiled at me and said “I wasn’t sure that I would still love you the same way now I have him to care for, but I do. You have made the impossible, possible. He is healthy and learns easily and when I look and touch him I am reminded of you every day.”
“Is it difficult surviving in the sea and having the responsibility of caring for Ocean too?”
“The sea is always unpredictable but we expect that, most of the living things in it are that way too. Understanding the ways of the sea and of sharks and other predators is a defence but it is not foolproof. But we cannot survive on land; you may love me and protect me but how many other men would want to kill me just because I am different. How many large and magnificent fish are caught by you not to eat but merely for pride? The turtle population is dying out because some of your people are eating or selling turtle eggs. Do you know how few of their hatchlings survive? You humans are always upsetting the balance of nature.” Here Marina stopped and smiled sheepishly “No, not you Mark, you are redressing the balance. There will be one more merman thanks to you.” She lifted her head to receive any messages and sounds from around her, then continued. “Come into the water Mark and this time we will try for a little mermaid.”
“I didn’t think you would want me again, Marina. But we cannot if Ocean is swimming around by us.” I didn’t mention how cold the water was which would surely dampen my ardour.
“Ocean is a baby; as long as he knows I am near he will not worry so long as he can sense I am happy.” She paused here then whispered shyly “How else will he learn?”
So tentatively I removed my clothes and entered shivering into the cold waters alongside them. She pulled me out to the deeper water and enfolded me in her arms and we made love in the occasional light of the moon. Every now and then I would feel a flick of Oceans tail as he swam around us just happy and reassured to be close to his mother. By now however I had got very cold and was breathing heavily; gasping in fact.
“I must get out of the water, it is too cold for me,” I told her. She pushed me up on to the shore pulling Ocean along with her.
“He knows you are to be trusted now. He has received signals of happiness when I am with you. But we must go now.”
I reached out for Ocean and he came to me. I held him in my arms and hugged him and his fingers touched my nose and my mouth and he poked me in the eye. Then I kissed him and let him get back in the water. I looked back at Marina and she was laughing with happiness at the pair of us.
“We will see you next year,’ she said taking my hand and placing it on her rosy tummy. I expect she was hoping that she would have another little merchild; well I certainly hoped we were and I kept my mind focused on that coming true too.
However I never saw her on that beach again. Just a few months after our winter meeting and after suffering a heavy bout of the flu I read that the little bay where we had met and fallen in love was to be developed as a port for shipping bauxite or some other ore being mined some 100 kilometres inland from the sea. A huge construction of a jetty, gantries and conveyor belts was well under way by the following winter and Marina would have never dared to land there now with her children.
Reading this story you may have guessed that our love always conquered every setback. So I visited the same secluded site on the south coast many months later where Ocean was born and discovered I was father to a baby mermaid, Selena; but that’s another story. I must stop talking to you now or else one day you will work out where to find us and I just cannot trust you…you are human aren’t you?