By: Aubrey Lackey
This is the story about me, and the way I met the forbidden love of my life. Deep in the ocean where the squids lay their heads is my home, Atlantis. Yes, it is true, Atlantis is real and it is in fact really sparkly and gold, however things there are not much like paradise anymore. I am the daughter of Poseidon, Sky. The ocean is beautiful and I love my home, but I have always wanted more. The sea is where I want to belong and I don’t ever want to leave, but I need something more than another merman to try and court me or fake merfriends who only care about how they look. I want to explore and I want to live my fullest life in the ocean at home before I leave for college, which is closer to the surface. I do not know what I am missing, but I am missing something and my mission this summer is to find that missing piece.
The alarm rang and bubbled as I sprung out of bed, heart pounding and my tail still dead asleep. I looked for my best shell bra and clasped it around me hoping to look as good in the mirror as I did in my head. Today was the day that I was going to the surface to see the world before my graduation party. I snuck out the back door of our house and swam as fast I could with my binoculars around my neck. When I got to the surface and set up camp on my rock to see the people on the land, I noticed a man swimming in the water. He was chiseled in every area, strong as a mule but he looked so pure and kind. I could not keep my eyes off of him as he swam closer and closer to the rock I was resting on, not even noticing the fact that he saw me and my tail out in the open. He never looked scared as he swam closer, but as our eyes locked and we shared a small smile, I realized that he saw me and my tail.
I tried to hurry and get off the rock, but before I could move his hand was on mine and he said
“Wait! Don’t leave!”
I whipped my head around in complete shock. My father had always told me that no human wants to just see a mermaid, they want to capture us and expose us to the world for money. Despite knowing this scary truth, I felt safe as he spoke to me. His voice sounded like heaven and melted in my ears as though I had been searching for this voice all of my life. He said his name was Toby.
“Oh.. Hi! My name is Sky, nice to meet you, Toby” is what I blurted out to him.
He smiled at me and let me know that he loved my unique name. I felt whole when he spoke to me even though we had only met 20 minutes ago. I felt complete.
We talked every single day for a month on that rock. We talked about our futures together and what we wanted to do as we fell deeper and deeper in love with each other. It was magic, truly the way he spoke to me was magic and I knew that there was no going back to a normal life now. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in love with a land man, who couldn’t come to my home or my college.
Toby seemed sad when I came to our spot the next morning and so I asked what was wrong.
“I can’t be on this land anymore. Sky, I want to see your world. Land is just not for me anymore and I don’t have anything to go home to. I only want to be with you. I want to go to college with you, live with you, meet your family, and experience your world.” He sulked while his head slipped under the water releasing bubbles to the surface as they slipped out of his mouth.
I decided that I wanted this too and that I was going to find a way. I knew a dark voodoo mermaid, she was someone you only visited in secret and never for too long. I left Toby and went to her, pleading for a way to make it possible to live in the same element with the man I love. Mildred, the voodoo mermaid, made a potion for me so that Toby could be with me in the place I call home. The only catch was that I could never go to the surface again and neither could he. I felt almost selfish for bringing the potion to him knowing he would have to say goodbye to his old life forever. I did not want to be the person to take away life as he knew it, whether or not he wanted me to be. I couldn’t make that decision for him, so I took the potion bottle and brought it to the surface for him. He took the potion into his grasp and lit up with joy, grinning from ear to ear. He was undeniably thrilled until he heard the news.
I couldn’t watch him try to decide if I was worth uprooting everything he had ever known and creating a whole new life as a merman, so I swam away and waited in the giant squid’s layer. Hours had passed and I was convinced that he was never going to show up for me. I had to accept the fact that it wasn’t meant to be and try to move forward even though it felt nearly impossible. I looked up at the surface for the last time after leaving the squids and swam back to my house in Atlantis; it was time to start packing for college. To my surprise, as I entered my bedroom I saw Toby standing there with a breathtaking tail colored with iridescent scales and black accents on the base. He looked like he was always meant to be a merman, a leader of the sea. Toby swam to me and engulfed my whole body in the tightest embrace before putting my hair behind my ear and looking into my eyes while telling me he loved me. “I was meant to meet you and I was meant to be here with you forever, Sky. You are worth any change and any hard time ahead. You are my air and without you I couldn’t live,” are the words Toby said to me as he pulled out the most perfect pearl ring and asked me to be his forever.