Up here with Crescent Moon I think of you. The plane forges on west where you are, but it cannot chase down the setting sun. Its oranges and pinks are poured out into the sky and I drink them, in sadness and in awe, knowing they will soon be gone. The clouds hang with their puffed up hills and valleys like the bumps of a comforter on the floor after making love. Up here with Crescent Moon I think of you.
Once upon a time there was a woman who wore high black stilettos. She wore them to work. She wore them to the store. She wore them to the bank and to the restaurant. She wore them uptown and downtown. She wore them midtown and out of town. And when she finally arrived home, she’d pull those stilettos off her aching feet and throw them across the room in frustration.
Then she’d pick at her blisters. There were the blisters with flappy skin and some with no skin at all. Some blisters were still in infancy, just bubbling up, not yet ready to pop. Then there were the bunions and the bruises. There were the red irritations and the achy sensations. She plunged her feet into her hot saltwater bath in frustration.
What magic spell did those stilettos hold over her? She didn’t have to wear them. She could wear flats. But the stilettos called to her every morning and every morning she pushed her feet back into them. They made the curve of her back sexier and her legs longer. They made her breasts appear fuller and they made men look at her.
But her feet throbbed in pain. And even after her hot saltwater bath, she felt her heart beating in the souls of her feet, crying out in agony. She could no longer ignore it. With bath towel still draped around her wet body, she marched to the living room and picked up the black stilettos from the floor, set them upon her kitchen table and sat down in front of them.
“I want to be free of your spell,” she told them.
“Just lose the form and you are free,” the stilettos replied.
“What do you mean?”
“Your feet are the form. But without feet, I have no power over you.”
“Shall I chop my feet off?”
“No, I will not.”
“Then change the form to some other.”
She thought of the little mermaid sculpture that sat upon her bathroom sink. Fins rather than feet.
And with just this one thought, her form changed. Her legs and feet were gone and she had a long beautiful mermaid tail. The problem was getting to the ocean. On her forearms she crawled across her living room floor. She reached up to the doorknob and turned it open. Down the long flight of stairs she rolled. She wiggled and slithered one inch at a time across the sidewalks and across the streets with no one to see her except the full moon hanging low in the dark sky. Yes, bruises and blisters and scrapes and scratches appeared on her mermaid tail, but she didn’t feel them. She only thought of getting to the ocean.
How fortunate that she had lived so close to the ocean and she thought of the times that she yearned for the smell of it whenever she had gone away. She came upon the wet sand of the shore, the roar of the waves so loud in her ears. She knew that her old life was over. She crawled her last crawl and gave way to the mighty depths. The ocean embraced her as a parent embracing their lost child who had finally come home. Her fins so long, she noticed how the tail made the curve in her back sexier, her breasts fuller and wondered if the mermen would look at her. Almost an afterthought she wondered, “How is it that I am breathing now underwater?” She flicked her tail. Her tail had made it so.
Mermaid Drawing by: Daniela Hurtado