The table shakes beneath my notebook, making my letters wobbly and poorly formed. The words came fairly easily. If only I could write them down as soon as I thought them, I'd have no problem. But I write too slowly for my own mind, so I forget most of the thoughts before I can form them all onto the paper. I sigh and take a sip of my now cold coffee. I'm never careful picking up my mug, although I should be. Its handle was broken off months ago, leaving two sharp and potentially dangerous stubs on one side. That was before I'd learned not to put things near the edge of any tables in my home. They'd shake their way off like my mug did. Everything in my home is constantly shaking from the music blasting next door. The bass pounds and I can feel every beat through my whole body.

I stand up, strolling away from the table and grabbing the frying pan that I keep on the counter. I smack it against the wall, not quite hard enough to further the dent already there but not soft enough to go unnoticed. I wait a moment. After receiving no confirmation that I'd been heard, I hit the wall once, twice more. I hit it a bit harder each time I swing. The cracks in the wall spread out slightly further. A second before I'm about to swing again, the music stops. The silence is sudden and somewhat jarring after so long hearing the music. My ears ring in the quiet and I take a moment to appreciate the complete lack of noise.

But I only get a moment. The silence is ripped away as the phone rings and my great aunt comes crashing into the room. She looks especially eccentric today, in a mauve rob and thick layers of gold necklaces.

"Have you seen the picture?" She asks me, half shouting as if the noise were still going, with a look of terror and confusion on her face.

I point to a painting hanging across the room. A boat caught in a nasty looking storm is painted onto a large canvas with precise strokes. "Yes." I say flatly, "We moved it in here yesterday because you wanted the other one in your room."

She looks relieved at first, and then frowns. "Are you sure?" She starts to put her grey hair up in its usual messy bun. "I don't remember that. I'm not sure why I would do that, either…"

I shrug, grabbing the still ringing phone. A familiar voice comes through it. "Yo, Siren."

"Hey, Isabella." I position the phone between shoulder and my cheek so I can start boiling some water to make coffee. I'm so glad we finally got a wireless phone.

"Don't call me that." Isabella 'Call-Me-Izzy' is my next door neighbor responsible for the racket that blasts through my home. She's a bass player in a punk band that they claim is 'gonna hit it big in no time'. I mean next door neighbor quite literally. Her apartment is exactly one door down from ours. We're on the basement floor of a dark and dank building. Not exactly high class, but it's cheap and it works.

"Don't call me Siren." My great aunt picked out my name when she adopted me. It's Brizo after the Greek goddess who is said to protect sailors and fishermen. Izzy finds it hilarious to mock with terrible jokes and corny nicknames.

"Whatever." She huffs. "You banged?"

"Yeah. I'm trying to write a report for school. Mind taking a breather?"

"Sure, me and Ace are going out anyway. Need anything while I'm out?" Ace. Is that the drummer or the guitarist? I don't really care, so I don't ask.

"Ace and I," I correct her. "And no. We're good. Thanks."

"Catch ya' later, Bri." The line goes dead before I can reply.

I hear Izzy's door slam open and shut, followed by the laughing of her and her band mates. I put the phone down and turn the stove on, putting a pot of water on it.

My aunt is still standing and staring at the painting with a confused look on her face and a clouded look in her eyes. I walk over and pat her on the shoulder. Her eyes focus and she seems to come out of a daze. "Why don't you sit down?" I ask her. She nods slowly and sits down in the chair across from where I was sitting before.

In a few seconds time she either forgets about the painting or just moves on. I'm never quite sure which. Her eyes return to their usual bright excitement. "What's that?" She asks, motioning to my notebook.

"A report." I sit down across from her. As I do the single hanging light bulb in the room flickers, reminding me that I should've asked Izzy to pick one up while she was out. Oh well.

"A repot about what?"

"Andrew Jackson. The seventh president of our great nation, a democrat, born in 1837, blah blah blah…"

I regret that as soon as I see her face. Her eyes flash a bit. "Andrew Jackson? I loved him. He was a sailor, you know. His ship was absolutely grand. I'm sure I have a painting of it somewhere. His adventures at sea were like no other. And he was so handsome…"

"No, Aunt Jane, not Andrew James, Andrew Jackson." But it's too late. She can't hear me. Once she starts going there's no stopping her. I shouldn't have said Andrew Jackson. It's too close to Andrew James. Great Uncle Andrew died at sea a long time ago. That's why Aunt Jane is so obsessed with the ocean. She's convinced he's still out there, being protected by the sea gods and such (hence my name). That's about all I know. He left poor Aunt Jane all alone. Well, until I came along. I don't know anything about my family, really. Aunt Jane is all I've got. And she's fading fast. Every day she seems a bit more confused. It's depressing in a way. But I do take care of her the best I can.

As much as I love Aunt Jane to death, she can be a bit hard to deal with at times. She used to be an artist, and I assume that's why she's such an odd character. Her clothes are always peculiar robes or overly zealous dresses. All of the paintings in our apartment were done by her. They're everywhere, covered in tarps and dust, leaning against walls. They're amazing. The older ones range from gardens to sunsets and from plains to cities. Anything past the death of Uncle Andrew centers around the ocean. Boats and calm waters, mostly. Except for the picture. The one she'd had a panic attack over before. I've always assumed that was what Uncle Andrew's boat looked like and that was supposed to be the storm he died in. But it seems like too touchy a subject to bring up, so I never asked.

As I hear the water come to a boil I take me mug and make a cup of coffee. I take a mug out of the cupboard and make a cup of tea for Aunt Jane, too. I set it in front of her and I hear her slip a 'thank you' into her rambling.

"…and the goddess Brizo, your namesake, granted him her protection. He was able to go and live at the bottom of the o-"

I cut her off with an apologetic look on my face. "I'm sorry, Aunt Jane, but I've really got to do this report for my college class." She nods her understanding. Even with her mind becoming more absent, she realizes it's hard for me to work a full time job to support us and go to college in an attempt to improve both out lives.

"I know, dear." She takes a long sip of tea. "Sorry, it's just an old sea-wife's ramblings anyway." Although I know she means well, the statement fills my stomach with a bit of cold guilt. I grab my notebook and mug and head to the living room that doubles as my bedroom. There are only four little rooms in our apartment: mine, Aunt Jane's, the kitchen, and the bathroom. I sit on the couch that is my bed and put my mug on the coffee table. I look around at all the paintings in the room. Over every wall are pictures of ships and piers and peaceful looking waters.

I'll never get any work done if I don't focus. I take my pen and I'm about to start writing when a crash interrupts me. It came from the kitchen and I immediately rush through the doorway.

"Aunt Jane!"

She seems to have fallen, knocking or dropping her mug on her way down. Her chair is toppled.

"What happened?"

She picks herself up with ease. Her mind might be fading, but her body is doing well in her old age, despite her lanky and frail appearance

"I was standing on the chair and I lost my balance."

"What were you doing?" I begin picking up the shards of her mug.

"I was trying to take the painting down. I want it back in my room. I want him to be close to me." I look up to see tears in her eyes.

"Don't cry." I stand and wrap my arms around her, our heads just about level. "You should have asked me to help. I could've done it."

She cries silently. I know she misses Uncle Andrew. I hear her talking to him all the time. Maybe she's crazy, but she's also sad and I can't stand seeing her like this. She breaks down every so often, and I'm always there to pick her up. That's why I don't leave, despite being twenty and having enough money to afford to live on my own.

I start doing the only thing I know will help, singing the sailor song. A song she used to sing me when I was a child and she was a bit saner. She said Uncle Andrew had taught it to her when they were teenagers stuck in 'puppy love' as she called it.

"There once was a sailor… So brave was he… He was brave enough… To sail stormy seas… There once was a sailor… So brave was he… He was brave enough… To even love me…" I sing it slow and quiet like a lullaby, hoping it will help. It clams her down. "Oh how grand a sailor was he…. Over every ocean… Over every sea…. He loved I and I loved he….