Prologue: My Father, The Sailor
When I was young, my father was my world. He told me stories of the ocean. Sailors who were enchanted by beautiful women with fish tails; mermaids he said. He'd tell me how he fell in love with my mother. How she enchanted him as if he was the sailor and she was the mermaid. We would laugh and my mother's face would turn red with embarrassment. My father was a sailor who traveled to different countries. Each time he came home from one of his "adventure" I'd receive a shell from the places he went.
I remember a tale that he once told, one that I adore and cherished to this day. It was about a mermaid who fell in love with a man. His singing was what spoke to her; a voice of an angel. The mermaid's name was Mor—Mor—something. My father said she was the first mermaid that ever cried. Her tears came out as pearls and she was heartbroken because she couldn't be with the one she loved. When I first heard this story, I remembered crying for the mermaid, believing that she was physically hurt; bleeding so much that blood came out of her mouth. I had a wild imagination as a kid. My father would laugh and reassured me it wasn't so. Mathew, the man that the mermaid was in love with loved her too. He ran with her into the ocean and they both lived happily ever after. I've always felt sorry for the mother that Mathew left behind and wondered how she felt when he abandoned her for the love of his life.
Behind our house, there is a beach. When I was seven years old, my mother was painting and my father was in another room getting ready for his next trip. There were many time I've asked to go on a trip with him and each time he answered no. He said I was too young and beautiful and that he didn't want me to enchant any sailors with my beauty. I knew it was a lie. Humans can't enchant mer-people. That day I disobeyed my father's wishes.
For a moment, I thought my father was a pirate, it was the first time I saw his boat face to face. It was always through my kitchen window. Her name was Mieria. He named her after me. The massive black boat stared down at me, daring me board her. A mixture of excitement and fear stirred in the pits of my stomach as I looked at the far end of the boat; a ladder. At the time, I didn't know how to swim; I was reckless and didn't know any better. I remember chanting something foreign. As soon as the last word left my lips, my father was out the doors screaming at me not to jump in the ocean. It was too late. I was in the water flapping my way toward the ladder believing I was swimming as graceful as a mermaid. My head wouldn't stay up and to my disbelief I was choking and couldn't breathe. My body was dragged under. I could feel my chest burning along with my eyes. I felt something pushing me up above the water and heard unfamiliar voices.
By the time I was awake it was already dark and I was in the comfort of my bed. My hair was drenched and reeked of salt water. I was in my night gown and my mother was asleep on the side of my bed. I woke her up and asked for my father, her expression was strange. She didn't know what I was talking about. When I asked about my father again a sad look covered her face. I had never seen my mother so sad until that day. I remember the feeling of dread as if something bad had happened instead it was worst. He was dead when I was an infant. I cried that night, not believing a word she said. I asked for my father over and over screaming out that he was getting ready for his trip that day. My mother had a confused look on her face. I told her the stories that he shared about sailors and mermaids. I told her about his boat and that he was a sailor to traveled to countries. I remember hysterically showing her the shells he gave me as proof that he was there. Once my tears and hysterics had calmed down, she told me quietly that I must've been dreaming that my father was never a sailor. That he died in the war. The words echoed and my head that night. I had a strange feeling in my chest. As if air was being forced out, I wanted to wake up from the nightmare. I thought that if I was to sleep and wake up the next day, my father would be there singing like he normally did. He wasn't there. I looked outside the window for his boat. The boat was nowhere to be seen. My mother was in the kitchen cooking breakfast and I asked her again. With the same sad look in her eyes she told me the lie again. I felt as if I was back in the ocean reaching for the ladder. As my chest was burning from the lack of air. I wondered if this is how Mathew's mother felt when he abandoned her.