A Tuesday afternoon was a perfect time to get away to a beach that had a huge climb down stairs to get to the sand. Between facing the climb back up the stairs and most people being at work, Leucadia beach only had the odd human here or there. Andy loved this and reveled in the freedom he had to daydream. A lack of people meant a lack of noise and a connection to the ocean.
He was focusing on the calm water, watching the sun’s rays play color games on the motion of the water when he saw a flash of purple. It wasn’t like the colors made by the sun’s reflection. This came out of the water. Was that a tail?
He fixated on the water, hoping to see it again. It was more wonderful the second time as his excitement grew at the chance of seeing something special.
A shimmering purple tail flipped out through the waves and then the most beautiful woman with flowing brunette and turquoise hair, emerged, floating in the surf.
A mermaid? Was he witnessing the confirmation that mermaids existed.
He watched closely, refusing to take out his phone for a photo, afraid that he would lose her if he looked away.
She looked so elegant as she appeared a second time. Then he saw her eyeing the beach. Andy thought it would be best to stay still and avoid scaring her away, since it looked like she was attempting to swim ashore. Could this be a chance to meet her too?
Andy held his breath and waited.
She rode a small wave as she approached the shore and then tumbled as the waves retreated.
She was struggling on land. This made sense to Andy, she was not accustomed to land. He ran to her.
She looked nothing like what movies portrayed, kind of fake and fantasy-like. She had curves and a bit of roundness to her. There was a genuine mermaid quality to her. She had to be a mermaid.
Belinda tossed around as the waves kept on coming in and out. She felt extremely awkward and wished that she could get control and just stop thrashing around. Thank goodness she tried out her new mermaid fin while the beach was empty. This was embarrassing. At least it worked well out in the water. She loved being able to swim in something that made her feel so free and beautiful. It was the most tranquil swim she ever had, until now.
All she needed to do was collect herself, but why did she hear yelling?
“I’m here!” she heard in the distance, “I can help.”
Oh God, I need to stop tumbling, she thought.
“I’m here,” she could hardly see him with the waves moving her around. When she could focus on him, he looked like he was doing a made up form of sign language as he said, “I will help you and I promise to be respectful.”
Did he just pantomime that he wasn’t going to touch my boobs, she wondered.
Belinda tried to say that she was fine but it just came out as a bunch of grunts and ughs.
Andy waved his arm dramatically as he said, “Give me your hand.”
Embarrassment reached peak levels as Belinda gave in and took his hand. He dragged her away from the surf and she lied there, with her head on her hands, trying to shield herself from the mortified feeling that someone saw her rolling around helpless on the beach. She waited for the jokes, some worn out version of a beached whale comment, but instead she heard him ask, “Are you okay? You must feel so disoriented after that.”
She looked up and saw him crouched on the sand next to her. There was a sweetness to him. He was a cuddly, handsome man but his concern made his face look almost childlike.
She laughed and felt her face go flush, “I’m fine. I’m fine.” She did her best to sit up but the fin made her take the posture of a mermaid like in the fairy tales. I guess they didn’t just draw them that way to be romantic. It’s hard to sit up with your legs stuck together, she thought.
“When I saw you swimming, I thought you were a real mermaid. It was magical. So beautiful,” Andy commented.
“Aw, I love that I looked like a real mermaid, even if it was just for a moment,” Belinda said.
“Not just for a moment,” Andy corrected, “You look like a mermaid now too. Mermaid hair, mermaid fin, mermaid pose…”
“Hmm, I did come out here to embrace my inner mermaid,” she started to straighten out her flipper.
Andy gasped, “Mermaid grooming.”
Belinda laughed. “I guess I love playing pretend when it comes to mermaids.”
They sat for a beat, watching the water, with the crash of waves for music. The ocean was getting a little more lively now.
“I should probably get going,” Belinda said.
Belinda pointed to the sun, “It’ll be getting dark soon.”
“I have a blanket and a cooler with food over there,” Andy pointed at the place where he ran from earlier, “Let me grab it and I’ll get your stuff too.”
Belinda pointed towards the steps, “That’s my bag with my towel and some clothes.”
“Great,” Andy confirmed, “We can sit here, eat, watch the sun go down, and let you continue being the mermaid you were born to be.”
Belinda smiled, “That would be fun for you?”
“Are you kidding?” Andy asked, “I come here every week, staring out at the ocean, making up adventures in my head. Today I got to watch you act out your adventure. I would enjoy helping you continue it a little longer.”
Belinda a twinge of butterflies in her stomach as she said, “Okay, let’s do that.”
Andy brought over his stuff and Belinda’s bag and made their area into a picnic. Belinda went into her bag and before she pulled out the item, she gave a mischievous look as she asked Andy, “Are you ready, because I am about to go, full out mermaid right now.”
“Yes!” Andy answered, “In fact, this entire evening should be completely, full out mermaid. What are you going to do?”
Belinda pulled out a comb that she had custom made to look like a fork. She flipped her tail, pushed forward her long turquoise and brown hair, and started brushing it.
“That is marvelous,” Andy praised.
As they ate and chatted, Belinda showed more and more mermaid features and Andy enjoyed listening to someone who was not shy about her dreamer side.
They both felt that ultimate mermaid status was achieved when it had gotten darker and a person strolling on the beach, gasped and then they saw a flash.
“Turns out I wasn’t the only one fooled,” Andy beamed, “I’m pretty sure that person took a photo because she saw a mermaid.”
“Ah, I think your right,” Belinda agreed and leaned over to put her head on Andy’s shoulder, “It’s a clear night. The stars are showing themselves.”
“Hmm, I’m pretty sure they were part of your mermaid kit along with the dinglehopper,” Andy teased.
Belinda playfully gasped, “You know your mermaid trivia. I’m impressed.”
“I know some, but would you know how many dates I would need to go on before it would be okay to kiss a mermaid?”
“Ah, well I’m glad you asked,” Belinda said in a playful flirty voice, “It turns out, when it comes to mermaids, you just have to wait until she is snuggled against you,” Belinda gestured to the sky with her free hand, "and the stars start to shimmer.”
“Well, then I guess it’s the perfect time,” Andy whispered. He turned to hold Belinda in his arms and gently kissed her.