During childhood, disney movies taught that mermaids were beautiful, graceful, were friends with all the fishes under the sea, and would sing beautiful songs.
They are all of those things, yes that I can’t deny. But, nice? No. Trust me, they are anything but.
I didn’t think too much when I was dropped off for a couple weeks with my Great Aunt Matilda in her little beach house in Florida. This was temporary my mother told me. Just for a while while she fixed things up north in Alberta Canada for my dad’s new job.
Dad was probably going to mess up this job too. He had such a temper I was glad when he had to move to go live on an oil rig. At least, my mother and I finally had some peace and quiet now. I wasn’t excited
Matilda was ancient. Like imagine the roots of a tree, that was her face and fingers all twisted with arthritis. Her hair was like a pure white swan was perched on her head. So basically, I would have the run of the place because she was too old to stop me. I didn’t ask for this, but it was nice nontheless.
The first few days were fun. The weather was great. My great aunt for the most part was just passed out in front of the tv. As long as I left a tv dinner for her on the couch, she was quiet and amniable. I explored her property with a vigor I hadn’t since childhood. It was a small house so I spent most of the time out on the beach, feeling the salt water between my toes.
But this was not to last . . .
“Hi Maggie. How are things going for you down south? I’m sure you’re enjoying the beach.”
“Yeah it’s fine mom. It’s getting boring. Like I can’t just keep going to the beach everyday. All Matilda goes is sit in front of the tv all day. Is this why you left me here? There’s no one here for miles. I’ve tried walking around the whole property.”
“Oh she’s just old dear. All elderly folks retire down there and that’s all they do is sit there in front of the tv. Make sure you make sure she sits outside once in a while. It’ll help her talk more.”
“I can’t believe you did this to me.”
“We all have to make sacrifices Maggie. You’re helping me out with Great Aunt Matilda. We get her social security checks. It’s going a lot way to help dad set up a new life for us here. You have to do your part to for us to be a family.”
“Ok, I’m done talking.”
“Let’s get to why I called you.”
“Mom . . . .”
“I know you don’t like it, but it’s temporary. I was watching the news the other day while I was packing up and I realized it might be headed your way. Are you guys safe? You are right there in front of the beach.”
I looked outside and I could see the storm clouds gathering about. “Oh, I’m sure we’ll be fine. We have a basement . . .”
“Okay. I’m sure Great Aunt Matilda has something you can do during the storm if it gets too bad. If she is all alone out there . . .”
“Mom . . . ”
“I can’t drive down there to get you baby.”