mermaid dragon centaur

Grief and Aftermath...

Grief is what comes out of nowhere and expands to fill the huge gaping hole a sudden loss leaves in your life... And it fills and overfills the space, growing so big you can't see or think of anything else... And then it slowly, slowly, trickles away... But never all the way away... And there's always a bit more welling up, it never quite goes away... All those little trickles of grief flow together, and it's not the kind of pool in the lowest part of your life that you want to swim in.

People do, though. They even call it, 'Swimming in grief.'

I miss her. I miss him. I miss her, and him, and her, and him, and him.

But I'm still alive. I still have love in my life. I have grief, too.

Chari
mermaid dragon centaur

She Finally Flew...

I had someone, once, who loved me, and worked so hard--with such great ability--to make sure that I knew how much she loved me.

I always knew I wouldn't have her for long--the light in her eyes was not of this world, and a world of pain, of impermanence, where love and wisdom and beauty could languish in darkness--that was not a world for her. But she would look at me, or sense my presence--and that light would just... Blaze. And she would come to me, and hold me, and for just a while neither of us cared about anything or anyone else.

Fish are drawn to beautiful things, things that shine... And how could I not be drawn to her? So many of us were. She was the light in the darkness, the warmth around which we huddled, giving so generously--so nobly--of herself, unselfishly, fighting the good fight, she called it. In the end, she could not sustain her soul's battle to be free of her poor, ill-suited body. She finally flew away. Too high for me or any of us to follow...

I went to the surface and looked up, after the news sank in... after I realized how incredibly much we'd all lost. I looked up, just in case I could see her in the sky, spiraling slowly upward... It was so terrible to watch her looking up and pining for flight when so many things held her straining against the earth, fettered in filth and helplessness. She fought so bravely against weakness, and poverty, and illness, and despair. And she never succumbed, not the part of her that matters, the part of her that endures--the part that loved me, and some few lucky others, and that I will mourn and never, ever, forget--not for a second.

She was an artist in words and emotions--her dreams became our dreams, and made us so very happy--so happy that words, so useful, sometimes, nor song, nor art of any kind--can capture how much. And she WANTED me there, to hold or be held in the darkness, she wanted us, those she chose--and we helped a little. But we knew she couldn't linger. I don't think any of us thought she'd have to leave us so soon...

I want to scream, to rage in despair, to shriek my grief until the echoes drown out my misery and loneliness and all other thoughts from my mind. I want to do more than hug my tail and rock back and forth, and want her so desperately that I can't breathe or see. But she wouldn't want--wouldn't let--me cause pain or ugliness on her account. I'd fail her. I don't want to do anything but love her forever--but right now I have to grieve for her, too. And it's so intense I can hardly endure it...

She was a silver dragon--I thought they were noble and beautiful before I'd ever met her, and she lived up to that and taught me how noble and beautiful someone could be. With a dragon, you know, you only see the soul--that's why the good dragons are so proud and beautiful, and the wicked ones show their ferocity and hatred in every aspect of their being. She could fight--she was terrible in her anger--but she wanted to love, and loved more often and with such utter sincerity... She's where they can do that forever, without gasping for air, or groaning at the pain of a disintegrating body...

Thank all above that she didn't know fear before she left... I can't abide the thought of her being afraid, of knowing--while it could hurt her--that she was leaving us all behind. Oh, please, all kindness--let her know we'll never forget her. Let her know how much we still love her, how much we'll always miss her. I don't ask too much from this world, I don't think... Can I have that? I'd like to have something... Because right now all I have left of her is a huge, horrible, icy place in my life that only she could ever fill. And she's gone.

I'm fighting for breath, I can't see. I've got to fight back from this... Take it in smaller doses... But I don't see how I can NOT miss her, want her, mourn her, grieve her...

She's just flown away. Flown so high we can't see her, or hear her, or touch her... I just hope, I just pray, so very hard, that she knows, that she knew, how much we needed her, and still do... I don't want to think, I don't want to remember, I don't want to grasp how horrible this is... I don't want to fail her.

Only a dragon truly cherishes beauty, for only a dragon cherishes it forever...

Cheri
mermaid dragon centaur

Swirled Up in Themselves...

I know that I sound very self-obsessed. I have an excuse for that, I'm a mermaid. There's a legend about one of us that was so busy looking at herself in her mirror--they issue you one, the first time you report for duty--that she missed seeing a Saint passing right by her. I wonder if the Saint saw her? I wonder who the Saint was... But... Consider this. Sirens sitting on a rock are singing--but they're singing to other people. They're thinking about other people. They're reaching out.

Not for good reasons, if they're the evil sirens, I mean. When I get Siren Duty I perch up on my rock and sing things like 'The Wreck of the Old '97' and 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.' We don't WANT a shipwreck. It makes a terrible mess, and the ones you aren't successful in rescuing do really horrid things in the water you're breathing. We felt that way BEFORE ships were full of bunker oil.

Anyway... Narcissism. Only thinking about you. Wrapped up in yourself, or in some weird strange things that only matter to you, one person. Yes, I do it, too, sometimes... But you've read what I've written here on the sands, and you know that I worry, and long for, and think about other people. I don't think about just me. And the people I'm the closest to--they don't think about just them. Some of them think about me. Sometimes. That's so wonderful. That's love.

Some go from thinking about themselves to thinking about me and we're together and then something, not always themselves, drags them back away from me... Maybe it's the tide. But they come back! Like the sea does. And then we get together and make each over happy. So happy that all the bad things in our lives fade away down into the depths and the giant squid can just HAVE them, if they want them. They're gone and maybe they'll never find us again.

I read what other people around here write--people who are lucky enough to love some of the same people I do, people who love us both in return. I never see a word about our mutual dear one. That's... that's just wrong. A lover, a friend, a partner is so dear, so vital, so rare and so vulnerable... You just can't take them for granted, or ignore them, even when you're hurting. You're hurting THEM by not caring. You can't do that. It's worse than what a shark would do.

I can at least let them know I love them when I see them--which isn't as often as I'd like, but you take what drifts in your way and make the best you can of it. But I love them always, think about them always--even pray for them, pretty much always.

It's not about just me. A really wise human once said that a man who loves himself will have few rivals. There's just no way someone else can compete when you're your own biggest admirer.

I'm a mermaid, and I try to be beautiful. But I try to share my beauty. I'm so grateful for and to those who let me do that.

Chari
mermaid dragon centaur

Mutter, thwap fin, grumble a bit, hug self...

Well, fishsticks. If they're nobody I know.

I got so happy when one of my oldest and dearest friends--and more, once upon a while--showed up for a bit. Well, she didn't stay shown up... Miss her. Not upset, not angry, just back to pining again. If I'm going to fulfill a mer-stereotype, I prefer the one of perching up on a rock and combing my hair, 'kay?

It's getting warmer, and I've been swimming about and doing things that have needed to be done, and I've met someone wonderful, and another old friend's come back, and you'd think that it'd all be wonderful--well, some of it is. Not all of it. The wonderful new person is having a horrible time personally, and where you love, you worry--if you're me, at least. The old wonderful friend has had some sad news in her life, and I can only do so much to cheer her, and not THAT much because she's been rare again. And someone very dear said he'd come back, and he hasn't... And someone else very dear is sick all the time and has a lot of people that person cares about who consume what little energy that person has...

It makes me feel like I'm trying to hold onto a rock when the tide's going out... So easy to get discouraged and swept away. But... It's not going to happen. Something's got to change, and it will be a good change. I know that's unreasonably optimistic, but so is swimming out of your grotto every morning, you know? I mean, there are SHARKS... GREAT BIG SHARKS out there... And I don't think they care that I have a nice smile, tell funny stories, and sing beautifully. But I swim out, anyway...

Some people I care for are making big decisions, and I'm scared to make suggestions because they might be WRONG decisions, but when they ask for help--or are in water too deep for them--I help them. Mermaid thing. It's so hard to watch someone drown... And I won't, not without trying. I wish I was stronger, but then I wouldn't be me.

Well, I'm going to sit up here on the beach, and hug my tail, and dream of all the people I love, and maybe one of those dreams will come true. At the least, I'll sing... And maybe someone who will think it sounds nice will hear it, and feel better...

Chari
mermaid dragon centaur

SPYIEEEEEEEEEEEE HOP! {splooooosh!}

Okay, now I just breached, and did a full back flip and a PRETTY GOOD dismount, and if a dolphin gets a fish for doing that, I think that at the least I should get candy. WHERE IS MY CANDY? There are no candy stores within flopping distance. This must change...

I've mentioned that I'm hopeful... and I always am. I'm hopeful that my stories will be read... I'm hopeful that things will get better... And just last neap tide I was hopeful that some of those I loved would see my webbed hand waving at them from out of the sea... AND THEY DID!

{splooooosh!}

It's so good... It's like the best of the good old times. My oldest, one of my sweetest, prettiest, most neat, just gorgeous...

Okay, so I like her a lot... Came by and saw me. And it was just like old times, the GOOD old times, or times as good as they could be before I turned into this. The times when I'm alone--like this--are better than they were when I was alone--like that. But when the people I've never stopped loving come by, and SMILE at me... Or even... {shiver down to my fin} TOUCH me...

{splooooosh!}

Gad, even the dolphins are looking at me like I'm whacked out! Good, maybe they'll quit trying to steal my fish! AND I CAN STICK OUT MY TONGUE, FLIPPER! NYEAAAH!

Oh, come on, I'm just playing... I didn't mean to upset you. Better? Good!

And there's other good news... Someone I've missed... Well, terribly... As much as he could want to be missed, I think... Well, he's making noises about coming back again, and he'll let me help him, he won't just sit there and be lonely and miserable, which means that *I* won't just sit there and be lonely and miserable and I'm gonna do another backflip...

{splooooosh!}

Oh, there's still things to work on... One friend seems to have lost a lot of his joy in life, and I keep trying to make him smile, and to help him remember that he's loved, and I've not had a lot of success THERE. And another friend of mine misses him a lot and he hardly notices her, and I do know how that feels... But I've still got my hopes, and I'm VERY HARD TO DISCOURAGE!

And someone else... So incredibly dear... She's sick, and she's depressed, and she's tired and poor and cold and miserable... but she comes to see me. And we get together... and she says I made her happy. And I know she's made ME happy. See, that's one of my deep, dark, special mermaid secrets...

You can make me very, very happy by letting me make YOU happy. I HATE FEELING HELPLESS TO HELP!

But I don't, right now...

{splooooosh!}

Chari
mermaid dragon centaur

Off in the Corner of the Painting...

I don't lack for friends or people who love me--so why am I so lonely all the time?

It's hard to love people who are so very absorbed in themselves--and want you to watch them being that. It's hard, but it's not impossible. I'm very good at it, and I've learned not to care that it's hard, and... Sometimes... Whether or not they ever love you back. I'm faithful. If I love you, and you haven't... Well, there are a few things--I will love you forever. I will think about you, and even sing to you softly when you don't even know that that soft, tender voice is me...

I suppose I could ask for people to notice me, there, loving them... But that seems so desperate. And it's kind of a confession that I really AM worthless, that I have to beg for a smile... a touch... a kiss. I do, so I suppose... But, no, I'm not worthless. It's just easy to ignore a waving webbed hand on the surface of a distant sea. I understand that. It just hurts, a little.

Folks are so engrossed with their own affairs. And I don't want to pry, or to try and run other people's lives... But don't they care about the lives of those who love them? Love is so precious and rare, and yet people take it for granted, and take the ones who love them for granted, and that doesn't make sense, even to me, and I'm a fish.

But I'll keep loving. You can hurt me, ignore me, take me for granted, leave me, not talk to me for years... And I'll let you go, if you want me to, never intrude myself upon you or your thoughts again... But you can't ever say that no one loves you.

I do.

Chari
mermaid dragon centaur

Too Serious?

People who actually read these notes on the beach say that I'm sad, or melancholy, or unhappy... I'm not, really. I laugh and smile all the time. I suppose it's the times when I'm not that put me into the mood to leave these long notes on the sand until the tide comes to swirl them away...

I mean, I'm as much a dolphin as I am a girl... And although there are sad dolphins and happy girls, and happy dolphins and sad girls, I'm pretty happy, so much of the time. The world is so beautiful, and there are funny things and funny people, and, best of all, funny kind people--I try very hard to be one of those, even if by some accounts I'm only half a person. I think that's about as much of a person as I'd want to be, really...

I have seen--very, very briefly--some of my older friends, and that's good. I've had some very tender moments with a new mermaid in these waters, and that's been... Wriggly-wonderful! Is that a word? WELL IT IS NOW!

I've been thinking of some practical jokes I could play... Like watching a fisherman or a lobsterman--if you knew lobsters, you wouldn't spend a lot of time feeling sorry for them--hauling up his catch, and JUST when he leans over popping out from under the boat to KISS him and then dive down with a flirty wave of your fin... A smile for you, and a memory--not too haunting, I hope--for him...

Doing 'knock knock,' or better, 'shave and a haircut' on the bottom of a boat's been DONE TO DEATH, so I wouldn't do that... But if you found some boats anchored together you could switch anchors. THAT would confuse them! You have to watch out for the hooks, though, and you don't want to do anything that could hurt the split-tails.

I was chatting with a girlfriend, we were talking about getting married--and I told her how up on land they put rings on each other's fingers. That was such a strange thought to her--ours are webbed! I've been down here long enough that I think it was strange to me, too.

Good! I want it to be.

Chari
mermaid dragon centaur

I am a Pearl...

Tonight I sat and thought... I did something daring with the way I look, something risky that I'd always wanted to try, and it taught me a lot... It didn't work, but I learned from it. That's good, then.

I love being a mermaid. I think I just need to be what I've become, and that is something beautiful, rare, and only found by seeking... Of late, no one's looking. That's all right, it doesn't change the beautiful and rare part. I am me.

I helped an awkward dust-eater girl with her looks--I didn't experiment on her--she was so terribly awkward, even more than I am on land and I flop around like a seal. She was grateful, and I hope she feels beautiful because of what I did.

That's important. Beauty also is rare, and that includes all kinds of beauty--the beauty of the sea, of the moon, of the clouds at sunset, or the beauty of dolphins playing, fish schooling, or just, perhaps, to someone, the beauty of a mermaid sitting quietly on the beach and thinking long, serious thoughts...

It's funny--when I lived on land, I studied physics, not psychology, and I've never regretted that. Light's a particle when you're looking for a particle, it's a wave when you're looking for a wave--an effort to perceive something affects what it is. I wonder if Herr Doktor Professor Schroedinger had a catfish?

Am I still beautiful when no one looks at me, or when they stop looking at me, stop thinking of me, stop speaking to me, stop... Well, everything.

Yes.

An oyster is an ugly, sexless thing, but it's content, and it goes on, and it's always all alone, either because it's really alone or because it doesn't even sense the existence of the bed of oysters around it. When a particle irritates it, it starts to coat it with beauty, nacre that becomes a shining smoothness--and that pearl may have something awkward and irritating at its heart, but layer after layer of beauty surrounds it and the ugliness disappears forever.

Every year and every minute makes a pearl more beautiful. It stays beautiful, whether or not something kills the oyster, or the oyster dies and some day that pearl drifts up on some lonely beach, where someone will find it, and maybe lose it, or throw it away for reasons that seem good at the time.

I am ever more beautiful. I sing new, beautiful songs, and I weave tapestries of laughter and thought. I can make people smile, and I give generously of myself to soothe unhappy people and make them forget their cares. I share my knowledge and wisdom--they're not the same, of course.

I have my siren's powers to beguile the mind and transport those--who let me--to places none other could take them. Sometimes that's down into my ocean, sometimes it's places much more near or so far away that only I can take them there, and perhaps then only once. All that is precious, and it is my own. Whether anyone ever finds it, or whether someone throws it away for reasons that seem good at the time.

I love. Being loved back is not required nor does it always, perhaps even often happen. I am loved by a very, very rare and precious few. I was once loved by others. I love, have loved, and been loved, and I am loved. That, too, is very beautiful.

So I sit on the beach tonight--it's a little cold, I'll dive down to my grotto soon, and think of such things, with some pride, some melancholy, a lot of longing, and my song making lovely echoes into the night that bounce and resound and perhaps are heard, or just push out into the thin atmosphere above the ocean and fade into nothing.

What hides me is not an oyster's shell. It's sometimes something ugly, sometimes something boring, sometimes it's just something no one bothered or cared to move away to see and pick up and value me, who and where and what I am.

I am a pearl.

Chari
mermaid dragon centaur

Old Scars under the Scales, Under the Smile

Some sad news today--someone asked me about an old lover who said I'd hurt her. It's true, I did.

Mermaids are supposed to drown their lovers, either thoughtlessly, or hatefully. I didn't drown this one. That's never appealed to me. I hurt this person--and she hurt me. Others got hurt, too. Maybe that's why the thought of land makes me think of pain, or it could just be the legend about the mermaid who got legs and it felt as if she was walking on knives. I had legs, once. They ached at times...

I don't know what makes me more sad... That that old pain is still lurking, like a shark in deep water, and comes out to hurt me and other people, or that I had my share in creating that pain. I still care for the person I hurt--so it hurts me that she can still ache from the old pain. But there's nothing I can do, I suppose.

I so hate the thought of hurting any body--any innocent body, I suppose, there are some people in the world who I'd drown, even if I hated myself for doing it. But I DID hurt people--they hurt me, but if you hurt back, there's only more pain and it goes on forever--and I wish I hadn't. I wish I hadn't lied--ever. I wish I was never selfish, or greedy, or demanding, or petulant. I'm all those things, more often than I want to be. Vain, too, but that comes with the tail.

That's yet another mermaid thing. We're like the sea on a calm day, you can see the beauty, you don't know about the dark places where terrible things lurk, and come out to grab you. But, on the other hand, there IS some truth to the beauty--my beauty--and even my innocence. I thought the old bad days were gone for good, for me they were. I just found out otherwise. But I can't help but wonder if the old pain is the reason I'm not seeing some of the people I still love from those days. Even a memory can come in between people. I can't change that.

See, there's the reason I know that this mermaid, at least, has a soul. I'm aware of sin. I want to be loved, not admired or feared, or loved in vain. I cherish beauty, even when that, like the pain, is a memory.

I need to swim, and sing, and do things besides pine or stare at my reflection in my glass... I can do those things, too. I just have to move my fin, and watch out for rocks and terrible things that reach out from dark places and grab you...

Chari
mermaid dragon centaur

Choppy Waters

Stormy, with the change of seasons. I either sleep too much or not enough, and there's things to do, so many things to find--and not always me the one who loses them--this or that crisis or calamity to adjust to. I remember saying how it looks as if it's so calm under the waves when it's calm, or stormy all the way down to the bottom, when it's stormy. It can be stormy in the shallows, that's why we live in the deeps. But it can be calm on top and stormy underwater, sometimes.

I finished up the most beautiful new dress. I've no one to show it to. It was so beautiful and sunny the other day that a lot of us went up to sit on the rocks and gossip, and play, and get your hair combed out... And I couldn't, I had things that weren't my fault, but I had to fix them. Someone I miss so terribly, terribly much swam near--I heard her signal whistle, we managed JUST a few words... and then silence. It's not fair!

I know life isn't fair, but I don't think it always has to go the wrong way. I could soon have some wonderful news--but I've already been told it's likely to be bad news. I've had some sad news, too--the sea is a little emptier when a voice that sang beautifully through the waters is stilled. Memories of beauty aren't as nice as the beauty itself. So many of the people I see need comforting themselves, too... And you can't let them down.

I just need to have faith, I think--things will get better, I won't always be so flustered and dashed about, I will have some quiet, intimate moments when I'm not too tired to enjoy them. I'll swim up and sit in the sun, and sing and comb out MY hair, and I won't hurt and I'll sing and hear my voice bouncing off the waves again. That will be good, that will be beautiful.

I've felt like this before, and it's gotten better. It's just been too long since I lay back on the beach and looked up at the clouds.