Becalmed

He’d finally drifted along an edge of her own eddy, singing My Sweet Lord without accompaniment.

“Not bad!” She had popped up and foldedĀ her arms on the side of his boat. He jumped a mile.

“Where did you come from?” he gasped, looking around for any other craft.

“I’ve always been here. Where did you come from? Besides, you were thinking of me, and, voila!”

“Well, I might’ve been thinking of a younger you..”

She laughed, somehow like an incoming wave.

He blinked. “Why are you bothering me?”

“You’re lost, aren’t you? The shore is thataway.”

His eyes looked to where she pointed. “Something’s wrong, here.. Aren’t you the one who’s supposed to be singing?”

She broke into a rousing version of a rowing song, shouts interspersed throughout. “I like your song better,” she said.

“So do I. And, no, I’m not lost. I came out here to think. The shore is not where you pointed.. mermaids really DO lie!”

She laughed again and rocked his boat. “Feel like a swim, do you? I’ve not seen any fins for hours, now..” She had no heart to dispel the mermaid hope. It would make a fine if odd tale back atĀ the pub some warm night.

She rested her chin on her hands and gazed at him, smiling. He decided he was hallucinating and ignored her. Or tried.

She lowered herself noiselessly back down. She could hear him moving around to look for her. She stretched out her arms as if to embrace the boat and laid her head against it.

He’d be back. She’d startle him again — or so he’d pretend. Perhaps he’d bring another song. She looked forward to it.

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