“Just close your eyes , the sun is going down …
You’ll be alright , no one can hurt you now …
Come morning light , you and I will be…
Safe …and sound…”
While my eyes were transfixed to the little girl in front of me , my lips curled into a broad smile as I ended the rhymes. She looked so calm even while sleeping. She had no duvet to cover her yet , she did not seem bothered at all by the cold, that she gave not the slightest twitch nor shiver. Kyra .
The beautiful name was given by my late wife.
I still could not shifted my gaze from her as my eyes were fixated by her deep slumber. A sliver of moonlight shone through the window, slicing her pallid face.
This little girl of mine looked as angelic as her mother.
“You have to look after our daughter. Raise her and love her like you love me.”
My wife’s face and her familiar voice appeared to my mind consecutively. How could I forget her last wishes….
She was the symbol of love between the land and the ocean. Ah ! My mind was suddenly preoccupied by the demeanour of Andrea , my late wife. A deep heavy sigh unwillingly escaped from my long-held breath as my head started to replay the memory of two years ago like a brand new blue-ray disk .
“I can’t do this , Grey. We won’t make a perfect family. We are different and I am certain that you will suffer because of me.” My eyebrows arched into a frown as Andrea answered gently when I asked her about having children. Why ? Her reply made me inquisitive.
As I was about to ask her further, she begged me in her gentle voice to forget about the issue. A moan unwillingly expelled from my mouth. Curiosity palpitated mercilessly in my heart. I wanted to know the reason , but Andrea had already shifted her gaze from mine-making me to stay frustrated.
Andrea started to create distance between us after our tête-à-tête about the family planning issue. Her silence caused prickles of regrets in my veins ;- I was beginning to wish I had never bring out the issue.
Qualms haunted me and that night , about three days after the row , I decided to calm my anxiety on our rooftop. The gleaming stars hung like priceless jewels on the pitch black November sky, but petrify was stronger than anything I possessed , made me barely aware of the stars. Was it my fault ? But , what I had done ? Why did she was so mad at me , then ? My mind was busy speculating the reason of our distance.
“You’ll be alright , no one can hurt you now …
Come morning light , you and I will be…
Safe …and sound…”
Andrea ! It was her voice ! What was she doing , singing at night ? As the unanswered question flashed back and forth in my mind , I sprinted towards the stairs and dashed down, limping towards the source of her melodious voice.
There she was…. I felt relieved as I saw her blissful expression. Sitting at the corner of the swimming pool, she stretched out one of her arms, beckoning me to sit beside her. A gratifying smile etched her lips and gay as she was , I could not help my smirk .
“ Aren’t you suppose to be mad at me ?” The question was laboured from my mouth without hesitation.
She stared at me in awe and for a moment , I was terrified for the answer.
“Not anymore.” She smiled .Oh . Thank God. My eyes searched for her stunning and peerless face. She was very beautiful with her pair of blue eyes and small pinkish lips.
To my disbelief , Andrea suddenly jumped into the water and perfunctorily I followed her – as if I was under a mantra !
She swam deeper. I followed her. Unconsciously , we were not in our swimming pool anymore. A whirlwind took us to the other world! Feeling a little bit dizzy , I attempted to focus to my surrounding. It was a spectacular vista and I was momentarily paralyzed by the view. Wow!
Andrea grabbed my hand, pulling me closer to her and she swam swiftly towards a school of fish. I gape in disbelief. Andrea was speaking with them! A sound escaped me unexpectedly. The same combination of gasp and groan that came from being submerged in water, deprived of oxygen to the point of pain in my chest.
“Just breathe. You will be fine.” I was nearly jumped out of my skin as Andrea spoke to me. Under the water ! I tried to inhale my breath , slowly before it became faster. My heart was still beating ! I could feel it palpitating blood through my body. I was still alive. Haha. I inhaled more air while yipping gleefully and Andrea only chuckled.
“This place used to be my home , Grey. This is where I was born.” After a few moments of stony deathly silence, Andrea then tried to start a conversation. I could only manage a frown ; confused.
“I’m a mermaid, Grey ! That is why I cannot have children with you. I was afraid.” Her voice diminished. She continued , “ I was afraid of my father. He used to tell me , if I have children with human , he will kill me. He despised me , Grey.” I cupped her shoulder with my palm and take her into my hug , hoping she would understand my gesture.
‘I will protect you and our family.’ Deep inside my heart , I made a promise.
“I wish my father will forgive me. I don’t want to…” But , out of blue, Andrea’s voice reverberated in my eardrums and in a blink of eyes , it was gone. Her mien faded and the bubble washed it away. I breathed rapidly , nearly cried.
Slowly , I opened my eyes. The sun was shining brightly outside the sliding door. Tossing towards my right, I realized that Andrea was not in our room. I sat huddled on the mattress. My mind was still distracted. I was sure, very sure that I did not sleep in my room last night. Then , the dream ? Was it really is a dream ? Or was it not ? Ah! What if Andrea was really a mermaid ?
LABOUR ROOM . Ten months later…
I clasped Andrea’s hands firmly. With uncontrolled breath, she was struggling to smile. Inhaling a great deal of air, she squeezed my hand. Tears were already trickling down her sallow cheek. She opened her mouth , gasping for more air while trying to speak. I shook my head, sobbing real hard.
“Grey… you have to….look after Kyra…” Andrea swallow hardly before continuing , “Raised her…and love her…like you love me.”
I wiped the tears while forcing myself to stop wailing. This was her fate. Andrea never know that she will turn into a mermaid again after giving birth to a human’s child ! Not until this day . Not until Andrea’s father , Arthur came to the hospital right before she entered the labour room, about five hours ago.
“You will turn into a mermaid again. That is why I don’ t want you to marry a human. It is not that I hate you but I don't want to see your family breaking apart.”
Poor Andrea was actually almost fainted and I -hardly believe him - kept blinking , as if a bomb was being dropped right in front of my nose. We were very happy about the child just now, but then , in a blink of eyes …..everything changes.
The dream of months ago flashed in my mind. Ah ! Than it was not a dream ! It was real ! Andrea used to take me to her place. I sighed.
After five hours struggling to give birth , Andrea was struggling to kept alive before her father took her away. Her breath decreased. Closing my eyes , I planted a kiss on her forehead and in a second , she had stop breathing.
But , moments later , I could feel goosebumps of her hug from my back. Oh… She had gone. It was her soul. Running my eyes to the back , I saw her , wearing her favourite white shirt as a farewell gesture. Her eyes were full of tears , ready to be shred out from the blue eyes. I nodded , trying to avoid her gaze and rebelled the thoughts of her going away . Andrea strode towards her father and he took her hand. They walked towards the door and her petite body was fading as she walked past it .
Andrea's wishes was still vibrated in me ; to look after Kyra and love her like how I love Andrea.