“I understand why you are suddenly so drawn to mermaids,” she says to me at 12.30am in the kitchen. There is a sweet grey kitten curled up in a pile of mail on the countertop and I am blinking back tears. I’m tired, I miss him, I’ve been feeling his energy all day and I just want to sleep.
“You do? Because I do not get it. I just don’t get it. I was never into The Little Mermaid, I was always more into Beauty and the Beast, and have you ever noticed that Prince Adam is a ginger in human form? Not like a ginger ginger but his hair is definitely reddish.”
“Well, it makes so much sense,” she replies, swiftly cutting me off and stirring the pot boiling on the stove. “Mermaids are traditionally separated from the ones they love by, literally, an ocean. They represent freedom. They can traverse the entire ocean in literally one second.”
“One second?” I ask, tracing every movement of the grey kitten with my eyes. She turns her large green orbs onto me and narrows them, as if to say “Pay attention, little miss.”
“Yeah, one second. Also, they can snap their fingers and instantly be in any ocean in the world. But it’s that freedom, that separation by an ocean, that makes you identify with mermaids so strongly.”
I think for a moment, picturing throwing myself into the ocean and powering across the sea in three thrusts of my tail. I imagine washing ashore on a pebbled beach with the sounds of aggressive seagulls and screams from the pier pounding in my ears. The smell of fish and chips and 99 ice cream fills my nose. I wipe the water from my face and cradle him in my arms in the shallows, crooning a siren song into his ear that mirrors the melody of his own heartbeat.
“I never thought of it like that,” I answer, as the pounding of the waves in my own heartbeat fills my ears. I use my tail as a brace, curl him in my arms and hold on as the tide drags in and out.