A creative essay by Jennifer Joy O'Grady
In memory of Tinikka Lorene Kowlessar
As a girl I dreamed of becoming a mermaid. Once my body grew, the sea was cruel to my naive heart. I was fascinated by the fictitious freedom of traveling the depths of blue diamond worlds beneath. Only a girl trapped behind a rattling window could dream of such things. However, there were never siren’s songs. Only the call of the car radio rising through rolled down windows. The sound resonated off the waves and intermingled with the thrashing noise of city streets. The weekend drives on A1A with my best friend, destined for the place of childlike painted images colliding with our shared visions for the future. Our teenage dreams were sparked the moment our eyes captured the opened cage door of our youth in the perfectly simulated liquid. Everything of reality melted outside the world of a seagulls joyful cry. Although the sun, and it’s ally the sand were relentless, comfort was found in the motherly coddling of the water. We were held there together with one heart.
She would scrub the wave ridder till the salt was imbedded like the pores of her bronzed skin. Her trembling hands were water tamers to me. I watched as the sea recoiled to her rising power. Sparks of the crests bowed at her feet. Her beauty was complete in nature’s art gallery. In that moment she was a princess, born to the most powerful King. The water throned her. Perhaps I was unworthy as I ignored the sea’s love for her. Her royalty was adorned in this kingdom. At the call of setting sun, we reluctantly returned to the concrete. But, her salt water cloak never seemed to leave her.
After many seasons of her young reign, the sea was no longer my home. Although the adult world beaconed, she never betrayed that majestic place. One day the great sea took it’s admirer home with the ascending swell. Daybreak left me searching for the princess of the ocean; the only companion who accompanied me to the world of mermaid dreams. I heard her call from the depths of the crash; “Fight for this kingdom. You are not alone. You are royalty as well, my sister.” In losing her to the recoiling water, another ocean developed in my eyes as the royal cloak fell about my shoulders. I refuse to look at the outstretched kingdom without seeking a glimpse of the other side where the princess is still riding, forever rising. She now lives in the rare, breathtaking, perfect wave.