Modern Mermaid

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The water is brushing off my skin like butter, slipping down my arms. My feet are pumping, kicking, and splashing. Water droplets everywhere. Almost there, I can feel the tile as my hands are reaching up. There goes the buzzer. I look up at the score board. The light bulbs shining my time. 23.4 seconds. I shaved ten-seconds off my 50 free. Finally. I get up out of the pool, and wrap my warm towel around my arms. Man, it’s freezing up here. I look out to my team and they are all clapping. Shouting my name. I broke the swim meets record! Fastest time yet.

I’m filled with joy. My time! Fastest Swimmer! Amazing! My next race is in 10 minutes. I have to get ready fast. I need to do good. It’s my 100 IM. I have to get a good time.

“ Hey Elena, good time.”

“ Thanks Jake, I don’t deserve it though.”
That’s Jake Cranley. Fastest and cutest boy on our swim team, and he is talking to me? Yeah, I know, crazy stuff.

“ Why not? You were amazing.”
Did Jake Cranley, the Jake Cranley, just say I was amazing. Okay Elena, don’t pass out. Whatever you do, don’t pass out.

“ How the heck was that amazing? I slowed down and let the other team beat
me.”

“ So? You just broke the record!”

“ Haha, yeah. I can be pretty amazing.”


Do you know what it’s like to finally be happy with your life and your parents just throw it away? I WAS dating Jake, I WAS the fastest swimmer on my team, and I WAS enjoying my life, but no, my parents forbid me, from ever going back to Nashville. To see Jake, to swim on that team, or to visit my old life. We are moving! Yay, so exciting! NOT. My dad got a job transfer and we have to move so John is closer to college, so I’ve heard. John, my annoying eighteen year old brother, who would much rather be sitting at home reading Star Wars comics than hanging out with football players and “hot” girls. Ugh, brothers.

The only thing I get to take with me is my cat. Puffy. Don’t even ask about the name, I was three when I got him. He is as old as the pyramids in Egypt or at least he LOOKS that old. He is gray, like charcoal gray, with cloudy eyes (he is going blind) and he has this pink sparkly collar that is probably imbedded in his fur because he has had it on for so long. He refuses to take it off, it’s not us, I promise.


November 21, 2009.


“Welcome to Shelbyville! 50 miles away from that God forsaken city of Nashville!” shouted my dad as we entered my death zone. How is this ratty old place closer to John’s college when we are fifty, let me repeat fifty miles, away from Nashville?! You would think that people would enjoy Nashville.

Not my parents. They are environmentalists. Shocker there. They carpool, recycle, and are vegetarians! They made one exception when it came to me though. I refused to eat tofu, so they buy turkey meat for my protein, since I am a swimmer.

“Dad? How is this place closer to John’s college?” I asked.

“John is taking classes online. That new nifty thing they invented.”
Nifty? Who uses that word anymore? Come on dad, we don’t live in the fifty’s. I mean seriously? Thank God we don’t.

“What?! Online classes?! That’s not fair! You jerk! John I’m going to kill you! You
took me away from my life just so you could concentrate on your online
classes! When I’m done with you...”

“Elena Kristen Anders, you do not, and I mean DO NOT talk to your brother like
that. He doesn’t do any sports so he has to focus on academics. Sweetie, you
wouldn’t understand.” Spoke my mom in her stern I-know-everything-that’s-best
tone. I wasn’t listening to her,

I was rubbing my head, where I hit it off the window when my dad made his exciting announcement. I was also examining my huge scratch on my left leg where Puffy was laying just minutes ago. When I jumped up to hit John, I guess I kind of ticked Puffy off to make him jump that high. He hit the roof of the car and is now hissing under Mom’s seat. I am so mad at John, and my parents.

“Mom, that’s not fair though.”

“Yes, honey, it is. Your brother has the brains. Be nice to him.”

“Right, the smart one gets the pity. Great.” I mumbled under my breath.


As I said that we turned down this dirt road. A bright yellow sign on a tree read, “Private Property. No trespassing.” I am surprised it didn’t say, “Elena Anders, your life is over.” New, torturous life, here I come. All I see is dirt, mud and rain. Great day to make this move even better huh? This dirt road isn’t that bad though. Long, boring. Just kidding, it’s bad. Imagine trekking this in the winter time, in knee high snow. Awesome. Now, I can see the house. More like a ranch and there are horses. Horses? Weird. Must be the old owners and they haven’t come to pick them up yet. Maybe?

The ranch is a mustard yellow, with a white porch. Blue shutters, a god awful blue for that matter. Yuck, gross, ew! The barn was a bright red. I liked the barn. When we got into the foyer there was a long staircase heading up stairs, in the living room there was a ladder heading up to the loft. My parents gave the loft to me, for my room. Three painted pink walls, and the balcony connected to the ladder. A perfect paradise. John’s room was on the other side of the house, and indoor pool separating us. Thank
God.


First day of new middle school! I hate being the new kid. Already. I have never been transfered before, so I don’t know how to make the transition. This is tough, like real tough. If you thought being President was tough, you have never transfered to a school, fifty miles away from your friends. All the “plastic barbies” are staring at me, jocks are wondering who I am, and the geeks and clubs members are inviting me to join there after school teams and clubs. I am only looking for the swim team sign ups. I want to show this school what I am made of.

“Sweetie, how was your first day of school?” said my mom. She is so nosy.

“It was good. So good that the kids don’t even talk to me!”

“Oh, sorry I asked.”

“No, it’s fine. I met this girl and her name is Becka. She is in all of my classes
and is really nice. She let me sit with her and her friends today at lunch.”

“I smell a best friend in the making!” My dad chimed in.
Oh, great. This is just great. They expect me to forget my friends in Nashville? That’s not happening.


Swim Practice. December 1, 2009.

The whole team has left, along with Becka who is thinking about joining the team. Only a few people are left in the pool. Like some of the jocks that come here after school, to “build up muscle,” when they are really playing Marco Polo. Eric is in the pool, he is the nicest and the best looking one of the jocks. He gets up to jump off the diving board. Everything is going by slowly now. Like a Matrix movie. I can feel my heart beat.
Eric dives.
Boom-boom-boom-boom.
Hits his head off the side.
Boom-boom-boom-boom.
Goes unconscious.
Boom-boom-boom-boom.

The next thing I knew, I was diving into the water trying to save him. The pool is dark and scary. I have been to the bottom before but fear was filling my body. I could hear muffled yelling above me. The jocks are running to get someone to help. My drag suit is holding me back. I can see Eric floating lifeless towards the bottom. I reach out and grab his arm, just barely getting it. I swim as fast as I can. Almost to the surface. Crap. I have to give CPR. Great. I can hear an ambulance. Help is coming Eric.


The next day.

Eric remembers what happened but its a bit hazy. He is a little dizzy but he has his friends surrounding him. No one knows the girl who saved him was me. He keeps telling the story to us repeatedly. The girl started singing a lullaby. It was comforting. Her CPR worked. Her song was nothing but a murmur. She had a beautiful voice.

Honestly, I don’t know how to sing but it was the only sweet thing that came to mind. I want to tell him it was me but, I just can’t. Some secrets are meant to be kept. I just wish he would notice me. I went to Becka for help that day. Worst mistake of my life.

“ Hey Becka. Could you help me? I am the one who saved Eric and since you
have been at this school for a while I want to ask you something. How can I tell
him without saying it?”

“ I will suggest a talent show to him. Singing only. Anyone would want to be with
him, so many of girls would sign up. I heard that when he finds out who the girl is
he is going to invite her to the Christmas Dance.”

“ Thank you Becka! So much! You are the greatest friend ever!”


The next day, I saw two poster’s hanging up in the hallway. One saying the Christmas Dance was coming up, and the other saying, “ Eric’s mystery girl. Is it you? Find out at the singing competition tonight in the Cafe.” Finally, I might be happy in this school. Becka and I practiced in the music room. She said I sounded beautiful. She sounded good too. She made sure my name was last on the list, so, as she said, “Would end with a big bang!”

I dressed up. Curled my hair. It felt so much better to be myself. My mom drove us to the school thinking we had joined the student council and we had some special presentation and that’s why we are dressed up. She drops us off up front and Becka and I walk in. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. He will know who I am and he would like me. Jenny sings, she is the “plastic” I mentioned earlier. Now it’s Becka’s turn. I am clapping and cheering her on. Then everything goes downhill. She is singing my song. Her voice sounds like mine. Did she get some extra practice? Eric holds up his hand and said to his friends, “ That is the girl.” They question him but he is certain she is the one. She runs off the stage, gives me this You-shouldn’t-have-trusted-me look.
December 18, 2009. The night of the dance.

I don’t want to go. I have been balling my eyes out for weeks. It just isn’t fair. Jenny (the plastic) calls me. I am not in the mood to answer but I do anyway. She says that she saw Becka slip a CD in. She was lip synching! The CD had my voice! She must have recorded me while we were rehearsing.

John overheard my conversation. He walked into my room, holding up my blue dress I brought from Nashville. He told me to put it on. He had a plan. We walk into the Gym. Becka is dancing. Jenny walks up to her.

“Hey Becka, why don’t you honor us with your amazing singing voice and sing
the song that won Eric’s heart.”

“ Great idea Jenny! Thanks.”
What Becka doesn’t know is that while she is “singing” with my voice we are going to pop the CD out.

Becka walks on stage, her sparkly dress shining in the lights. Just like the scoreboard at my last meet. I am not going to let her beat me. She grabs the mic. Starts singing. The song is sweet like molasses. John pops the disk out of the player. Becka’s screechy voice pounds around the room. Everyone is shocked. MY turn. I walk on stage with my mic and start singing MY song. Eric’s eyes go wide. Surprised he made such a mistake.

He walks on to the stage once I am done.

“ Elena, I am so sorry. Your the one who saved me?”

“ Yes....”

“ No! It wasn’t her! Eric!?” screeched Becka.

“ Elena, may I have this dance?”

“ NOOOOOOOO!” Becka backs up. Not knowing where she is going, she falls off
of the
stage. The jocks run and grab her. The carry her away.


Eric takes my hand, as we walk alongside my classmates.

“ I am happy I found you. My modern mermaid.” He leans in and kisses my
forehead.




Maybe, this place isn’t so bad after all.





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msawyer66 said...
May 31, 2010 at 10:07 pm
Great  stories!  What a terrific use of words.  Can't wait to read more!
 
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