Why is it mermaids are always sitting on rocks combing their hair with those shells that look like combs, on sunny days? The water is calm and their tits are out but covered with hair. Hanging down from their heads, I mean. The hair. Long and usually blonde. Or they’re wearing bikini tops, sometimes made out of scallop shells, or they have scales to their armpits or their backs to us. But how often, really, is it sunny and calm? We, who go inside when it rains, aren’t we projecting? Wouldn’t mermaids come out to play in storms?
I can see them avoiding coast and shore in storms, due to the getting dashed on rocks and coral part. But in deeper water? A good storm in deep water sounds like fun for soemone who breathes air and water both and doesn’t get seasick. Surfing waves the size of skyscrapers, just watch out for floating logs and dinghies and other big debris, but otherwise?
After a big storm you’d want to sit on a rock combing your hair, for sure. Look at that world, the gentle swells, the glassy surface, the golden sunlight coins spent for you. You can’t only rejoice all the time, but neither can you grieve to the exclusion of all else. There is a time to tape your David Cassidy posters to the wall and a time to remove them and help your dad put up a new coat of paint. There is a time to listen to the very crust of the planet groan in a good storm, and a time to smell the ozone and tease sailors.
There are so many voices in my head, or maybe it is just one voice but it speaks in a variety of accents and frequencies, so many people inside there or one person pretending to be many different people, or having different moods, saying so many things and nonstop, projecting some inner storm on the calm, and calm on storm.
If I could, I’d learn to breathe water and be like a mermaid and feel the actual storm directly and be part of the calm.
The lighthousekeeper looked at her blankly. The cut on his head still hadn’t stopped bleeding entirely. “Four cherry tomatoes,” he said, “sit in a shallow Japanese dish on my kitchen table, practically motionless, at least while I’ve been here writing this. A pitcher one-third full of water likewise motionless, but for tiny ripples echoing my movements. My coffee cup, my laptop, and four walnuts.”
They sat there on a rock and combed their hair with their fingers, and felt the quiet, and recalled the storm, for a couple minutes.
I don’t know if it’s such a good idea for mermaids to be out playing in storms, especially if they’re, ahem, not properly covered. This might pose a distraction for men, especially men who had been at sea for a long time, and just at a time when they ought not be distracted, I mean, what with the storm and all, it would require all their attention, as one might imagine, merely to keep the boat afloat. And it seems that nobody knows exactly why the SS Edmund Fitzgerald went down on November 10, 1975, in 530 feet of water on Lake Superior, just 17 miles north of Whitefish Bay, with the loss of the entire crew of 29, and 26,000 tons of iron ore pellets. Gordon Lightfoot says:
“The searches all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her.”
There was a storm with 35 foot waves, and the boat was listing, but they went down without so much as a distress call. Does anybody really know enough to even make a reasonable guess as to why they didn’t make Whitefish Bay?