From the Deep
She slinks into the kitchen and her hair is wet and her boots caked in something like slime. She’s trailing that shit all over the place and dripping puddles of dirty water on the floor. She’s a mess, bedraggled doesn’t even cover it. Still, she’s here now and I’m smiling as I ask her to take off her wet things, as I hand her a towel.
She obliges, strips to her skin, which is pink and goose-pimpled, wraps the warm bath towel around her shoulders, shivering slightly, grinning still like the Cheshire cat. Her lipstick is a stain on her blue-tinged lips. I’ve put the kettle on, the water is rumbling and she eyes it, absorbed in the act of warming herself. She mops her legs, curls onto a chair and begins to dry the spaces between her toes. She is shaking less, her dark hair is coiled in ringlets over her shoulders, water trickling down her back. I grab another towel and she gratefully wraps her head. There is a smudge of mascara on her left brow bone and I hesitate before reaching and thumbing it away. We exchange smiles again. The water is boiling and I pour it, steaming, I squeeze the juices from the teabag, splash milk and then proffer the whiskey bottle. She nods emphatically and I add a slug to the tea before handing her the hot mug. Her hands lovingly cradle it as she inhales and sips slowly. All this time she’s not said a word. I’m watching her, now, wrapped in a pink bath towel with a green hand towel around her hair, makeup askew, fingers still tapping out the cold on the sides the mug in her hands. I know if I wait she’ll tell me eventually. She glances at the pile of wet clothes draped over her heavy black work boots, nods to the bag on the back of the chair.
I stop breathing.
I look at the bag and my heart feels like it’s going to forget to beat again.
I swallow, incline my head in the direction of the bag.
She nods. “I had to go all the way down”. Her voice is a hoarse whisper, like she has been shouting. Strands of the thick weed that grows in the depths of that place protrude from the partially open bag. I hesitate before stepping closer. Now it’s in front of me I’m stranded. I can’t find my voice, so I glance at her eyes again. They are gleaming with their familiar wickedness. Her energy is returning as she warms. Her skin has a sheen to it now, smooth and glowing softly, pearlised, some might call it. I reach for the bag and she slurps tea like its nothing.
The flap is parted slightly and I stroke the strands of water weed, feel their silky slippery-ness still clinging to the precious object. As I open the bag fully, light bathes the room, greenish and pinkly tinged with a quality of darkness that is indescribable without alluding to the catacombs deep below the ocean that I know she has come from, just to bring me this gift. I allow myself the gasp that I’ve been anticipating. I look back and see her smile, sure and clear and loving. She would do anything for me, this one. The small figure in the bag wriggles a little, his skin gives off the pearlised sheen that my lover emits now she is back on dry land. A faint hint of scales remains on his lower half, a shimmer of silvery green beneath the glowing pinking pearl. He is beautiful and his tiny mouth is a perfect rosebud. His shoulders are square and strong-looking, even for his size.
I reach in and lift the wondrous thing. I take the nearest warm towel from the radiator and wrap the tiny boy and place him tentatively in the arms of my lover. Her face lights up and she smiles at him, raising that smile to me, that smile…
“How did you do it?” I ask, overwhelmed by the wonder that I now have two of these marvellous creatures living under my roof.
She blinks slowly, and her rakishness reappears “Oh, my love, if I told you, you’d never believe me.”