He was not only sailor of the sea, but captain of the world. He had a way of turning situations around, no matter the circumstances, to keep himself boss. He may have had a lower ranking than certain men, yet he never let that made known to others. Upon meeting him, you would assume that he had the highest ranking of them all.
He had conquered much, yet still was always on the lookout for a new conquest. And sure enough, there it was — on a rough, stormy day, the lonely captain could have sworn he caught sight of a beautiful mermaid. Could it be — are the myths true? Surely, I must have been stranded at sea for so long that I am imagining things, he thought to himself.
Her voice was soothing as she sang to him. He could not help but sail towards the sound of this mysterious enchantress. Hearing so many tales of wicked sea-ladies who seduce their prey, his guard was held high. Still, his confidence was strong enough to know he could satisfy his curiosity without falling for any tricks.
All he really wanted was a glimpse of her beauty — for, legend has it that anyone who is lucky enough to see a mermaid must therefore face the consequence of disappearing from the world, thus keeping the secrecy. Mermaids do not want the humans to know they exist because they know they would be hunted and destroyed swiftly. They are merely trying to protect themselves.
And so it was his plan to see a mermaid with his very own eyes and capture her beauty, slipping away from her before she has the chance to destroy him. Other sailors have warned him of the mermaids countless times. For him to claim that he conquered the toxic seduction no man has ever previously survived, imagine! Imagine the pride, the sense of accomplishment and power!
He continued sailing her way as her voice became louder and her form became clearer. Just a little bit closer, he pondered, and then I will slip away! However, as he gazed into her eyes so blue-green like the ocean, he saw tears. This confused him, and he felt like the need to investigate more.
“Hello, handsome,” she greeted.
“Why are you crying?” He immediately asked her.
“My heart is bleeding for you, come closer,” she pleaded.
“I’d prefer the safety of my ship,” he denied her. Undoubtedly, he hesitated to draw any nearer. Caught in her gaze, he stood still.
“Come for a swim. You must feel the water.”
Letting out a chuckle, he almost felt disappointed by how easy this was. Her charm was no match for his wit. In fact, he almost felt as if he owed her some amusement.
“I will go for a swim…” he began, watching her face glow and her eyes light up, “if you would reveal more of your beauty to me.”
“How so?” She wondered with a head tilt, “without you coming any closer?”
And so, he laid down his anchor and stripped down before jumping into the ocean. It was pitying to him, how desperate she looked. And no man has ever been able to say he touched, let alone talked to, or even saw with his own eyes, a mermaid — and survived, returning safely to the human world with a great story to tell. For he had made it this far and now felt there was nothing to lose.
What do the scales of a mermaid feel like? Can they grant wishes? Could he steal magic from this mermaid? Intently focused, he was now facing her with merely inches between them. The feeling is indescribable — like holding a loaded gun at your enemy moments before pulling the trigger. Here he was, bravely staring danger dead in the eyes.
He was ready to run. The moment she attempted to drown him, he would safely sail away. And she would be stranded, forever agonizing over the one man who was powerful enough to conquer her. Stuck in mental torture, she would never forget him. And when more sailors came along in the future, she would question her beauty and her charm to the point of absolute insecurity, thus learning her lesson to never follow her evil mermaid instincts ever again.
However, the plan fell through. Instead of attacking him, she reached out her hand.
“Oh, a gentler approach?” He teased, “is that your method with all the sailors?”
“No,” she shook her head, “I prefer to eat them alive,” smiling, revealing her sharp fangs.
“How morbid,” he shuddered.
“But I see gentleness in you,” she explained, “you are a gentleman.”
“Enough words,” he demanded, “you have already got me into the water, why don’t you drown me already? I cannot bare just treading here, watching you, waiting…”
“I don’t want your flesh, because that will kill you. I want your company. I want you.”
“Enough!” He shouted so loudly that it echoed across the ocean. He could not stay and let her seduce him. Yet he could not leave without feeling he had won.
“Beneath the million layers of saltwater, I watch the humans in awe. I witness their reckless destruction, their lack of gratefulness for their environment, and it makes me sick. But watching you is like medication. I see you sailing every day, with an upright posture so glorious and proud. And you don’t deserve to live in a world of ungratefulness. If you lived in the sea, they would make you our king.”
“Your offer is tempting but I am not made of fish: I have no scales, I cannot breathe under water. Even if everything you say is true, we live in two different worlds. I could follow you into your fantasy, but you see I have wordly conquests that I am destined to attend to. I best be going.”
And he knew, if he let himself stay any longer, that although she may not drown him, he would end up drowning himself. The only thing worse than feeling defeated by a mermaid is feeling defeated by oneself.
As he hopped back on his boat, he expected her to tug on his legs, yet she did not. One final look at this mystifying creature cannot hurt, he told himself. When he turned back, he once again saw the tears streaming down her rosy cheeks. He wanted to laugh at her with vengeance, but he found himself sighing.
“I will be back,” he announced, “to continue sailing these seas. Look for me, and remember me.” He even reached out his hand one last time, giving her the chance to sweep him away, trusting her that she would not.
She eyed his hand with admiration, yet restrained herself from taking it. “I will be far away in the depths of the blue. But I will always be looking for you… I will always hope to see you from a distance… and I will always remember you…”
And with that, he watched her rainbow tail splash away. Maybe nobody “won,” and maybe there was not enough trust for these two worlds to collide, but for a moment the heart was joyous and sometimes that is all we can ask for. It is true what the mermaids infer about the greediness of the human world. We have to be grateful without begging for more than we deserve.