Mermaids are Bad Swimmers

September 29, 2007
By anna mitchell, Concord, NH

I always thought mermaids had that ethereal and natural balance, thanks to Hans Christian Anderson. My mother would put me into bed every night. She had a routine, this was not unlike her, because she had many routines and rules. Setting standards were her form of control in a world of chaos. After I would brush my teeth, she would have me "open wide" and make sure they looked good. I think she got this from my father, when they were still married. Dad was obsessed with clean hygiene, almost in a way that was beyond clean but obsessive and the whole family knew him for that. At family events, like Thanksgiving or New Years, he would make sure everyone had a handy wipe, and then, he would hug. But mom was the polar opposite. She was impulsive and wild. Late nights and parties was only a sentiment of what made up her realm. But when my father hit her for the first time right in front of me, she apologized to me. I ran into their bedroom, the safest place, or so I thought, in the world.mounds and mounds of blankets could not protect me from the cries and yells, which fell on me in the darkness like rain. When mom put me in the car seat and shoved the suitcases into the back, I was so innocent and unaware of what was really happening. Mom asked for her wedding dress on the porch. the porch was missing the railing. Dad tore it off in the heat of anger one night when mom came back from shopping and had stuff for nachos and Sundays and pizzas. "Where is the real food?" He barked. Mom was not quite half his age, but still. I looked to see if he would give her the dress back. "You will never fit into it anyway." He said. "But what if she wants to wear it for her wedding?" "Then she can come and ask me for it." "Will you let her have it?" "If it will fit her." And we drove away. Now, my dad lives one street away. I don't know if he even knows how old I am. that my adolescence is almost over, that my hair is almost black now, like his, or that I have two chicken pox scars below my right eye. My hair was the only thing he ever gave to me. So when mom tucks me in now, pushes back my hair, and kisses me, it is different. Things change. I am a perfect candidate for "change is not always bad." Which is perfectly true. All my life, and I say this rolling my eyes up to Heaven, because I am young, I have struggled with myself and my relationship with my mom. Two marriages later, our bond is tighter and closer than ever. It is a unique relationship that nobody will ever know. I know everything. I do not want to be treated like a child. She treats me like she would want to be treated. I know that once you go intimate with a man, your relationship changes and the emotional and closeness of it is lowered. And the man does not care as much. Lying is not always bad, as long as you do not lie to yourself. And if you are going under, let the tides pull you down. Chances are, your faith will push you back to shore and you can get back on your feet. You might be knocked down by the wind, or your clothes might be soaked, but you can do it. Heat and shadows and breaths make me, like my mom, like she always said. Bad love does not have to make you jaded. Even if love breaks and forms sidewalk cracks, it doesn't mean that love was never there in the first place. And now I know, (mom always altered fairy tales, nothing was so black and white, even the most cruel of cruel is not black and white, we are all grey, illuminated and shadowed by colors never seen before) that mermaids are not very good swimmers all the time. But, they know how to breathe, even on dry land.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!