A nymph finds his silent mate. How will he take her to the waters?
|The Nymphs here are not based on any legend.
In every Sea Nymph’s life, there will come a time when he has to surface and find his life mate. There can only be one and he must take her with him to the sea. The time of the Search is only one full month. If he fails to find a life mate, he must choose whether to go back to the ocean mateless or stay forever in the dry land.
For Dylan, he was determined to find the woman of his dreams. He will not leave the ocean and he will not come back empty handed. That was what he vowed the day he climbed up on the rocky ledge of the bay.
The stench was horrendous. Even upon entering the bay waters, there was a sticky and stinky gunk that surrounded him. He knew the talks the others told him of the surface. The pollution the surface dwellers excreted in the air and the sea was horrendous. How can they bear this? He thought. The oil was sticking to his slimy skin. His eyes and his lungs burned. How would he survive his month?
A gentle hand pulled him completely out of the rocky shelves and into a warm cloth. “We have you, brother.” A voice told him. He hardly struggled for he knew the voice. It belonged to a fellow Sea Nymph named Mario. Dylan knew Mario went ahead of him a week before. “Drink this and come with us.” He was given fresh water to wash his throat. Dylan can’t help but pour some water to his face and eyes. Carefully, they dragged him with speed to a unit in a building across the street.
Dylan was brought to a safe house for Sea Nymphs. An old Nymph they called Nong Tashio lived and operated there. He helped the young boys survive their month and helped them find their mates. Nong Tashio made sure these young Nymphs were safe and blended well with the general population. Dugongs and other marine mammals were endangered already. If they were discovered, they would be next in the endangered species list.
Nong Tashio’s place was large enough to house a lot of them, for there were a lot of them this time. He counted six of them. Half of them, Dylan knew. Mario was his best friend and there was Dario, Mario’s brother. There was also Pier, his neighbor. Pier and Mario came together last week. Later, he was acquainted himself with the rest of them. The other three came from the distant north three days ago by means of a land boat called bus. The Capital was a more sensible place to find their mates for most of the population was concentrated here. Some from the province were lucky to find their mates waiting by the shore but for the unlucky ones, they traveled to the Capital. Nong Tashio was happy to take them in.
“Listen, young Dylan, we have to be inconspicuous les’ we scare them surface dwellers. They easily scare and you must ‘proach and befriend them with caution.” Nang Tasion briefed him. Dylan was then fed and given proper clothes.
Dylan had a hard time wearing clothes. He usually wore woven sea vines to cover his manhood and that was it. Swimming in the ocean required freedom of movement. He couldn’t understand the amount of garment these surface dwellers needed. “You’ll get used to it.” Dario, the younger of the brothers said. Dylan had to put the shirt back on twice for it was on backwards. Mario taught him how to buckle a belt and lace his shoes.
“Don’t worry, Bro. We’ll be here a bit more to help you get around. You’d be surprised to find this place interesting. But it’s not a place to live in, though. It’s a good tale to tell your sons.” Mario said.
Dylan shrugged. “I can’t remember father telling me anything like this. He warned me of the dirt and thieves but I didn’t expect the filth. No wonder he dared not come back to the surface again.”
Mario handed him an apron and patted him on the back. “First thing’s first. We must teach you to blend in and that is to work. Nong Tashio required us to serve downstairs at his café. It is three hours before we open up and you must be taught all the terms and tarts served.” So Mario and Dario pushed him to the downstairs kitchen to start his training. Nong Tashio acquainted him with what the world was like and what a café was. Mario and Dario filled him with details they learned while the few weeks ahead they were here before him. All Sea Nymphs had a skill to learn anything fast. Dylan definitely absorbed fast enough to be an apprentice baker and barista. He knew how the cake was made, how tarts were frosted and how to make mocha lattes all in two weeks.
Nong Tashio’s café, Flounder’s, opened promptly at seven in the morning. When the usual customers came in, Nong Tashio had another “nephew” from the province working part-time. This new “nephew” however was a real eye candy. He might be dark but he was evenly toned. His pearly white teeth sparkled like stars in the night, and his eyes, they were sea green. Behind him, long jet black hair flowed like silk threads.
Theresa or Terra to her friends could simply not come out of her depression. It’s been two long years and still she was silent and unprepared for the world. Her parents have given everything but nothing would bring out a smile. An accident has rendered her impaired two years prior. Terra was now a deaf-mute. The doctors said she was not going to be normal ever again. Nothing could comfort her. Tears just trickled from her eyes. Her friends dragged her about town. She went with them but her face was blank. They were leading an empty shells.
The bay was the only place she responded to. Her friends took her there regularly. Terra seemed to emote while looking at the sea. If she could live in the sea, she would not need her ears. She would only need her skin to feel.
Hungry, she hand signaled her friends that she desired to eat something. They took her to a quaint little place called Flounder’s. Her friends ordered for her a tuna melt and mango shake. She looked up to the man serving her. He was a dark beauty. Those green eyes took her to the sea. He smiled as he served her and instinctively she said thank you but not a sound came out of her. Terra put her hands to her mouth then to her eyes and then began weeping again.
Terra’s friends began to pat her and soothe her by rubbing her arm. She calmed down and ate silently without emotions again. Her friends sighed and began eating their orders too.
Dylan had no idea what just happened. He seems to be doing fine the entire morning until he served the tuna melt and the beautiful girl began to cry. Mario pulled him to the counter and made him make blueberry tarts while he served the rest of the table.
“Not to worry, lad. That girl’s always a silent type. Cries for nothing, too. Not your fault.” Nong Tashio from behind the counter said.
But Dylan was troubled. That girl… she was haunting. She was sad. Dylan felt the urge to comfort her. He wanted to go back to her and tell her he would try to make things better. After the girl and her friends ate, they paid and hurried away.
That afternoon, he and Mario toured the city. He was surprised to see a place called a Mall. His father told him of crowded open spaced markets. This was no crowded open spaced market. It was a well organized cornucopia of shops in an enclosed building that was bright and cold. He was glad he was wearing clothes.
Mario showed him the girl that was his true life mate. She was tall and her hair was cut short. Then Dylan realized Mario’s hair was cropped short too. “She likes it this way.” Mario said. He told Dylan that the girl was a beautician. They earned their living by cutting and washing people’s hair. After the day’s adventure, they went home to the building in front of the bay.
That night, he dreamed of his first day’s adventure. He dreamed of missing the ocean, the mall and the girl. The girl, was crying in his dream. Dylan wanted to make her smile.
Next day, they went to a different type of market, one where you buy foodstuff to use for the café. Nong Tashio called it supermarket. Indeed, for Dylan it was super to find all you need at one place. He had a good time sampling the food called “chips” that Nong Tashio was so fond of. Though he regretted it later when his stomach revolted and made him sick for a week. He cursed the lost time he spent in bed. While he was sick, Mario went to fetch his own life mate and left for the sea. Dylan wished he was as fortunate as Mario. Dario on the other hand was close to convincing his love of the sea life. He left some things for Dylan just in case he left without word. “It’s paper. It dissolves in water so you can’t take it with you. Use this pencil to draw on it.” Dario instructed. Dylan loved sketching on the sand and the rocks. When he was up, he went to the Bayside and tried his paper and pen to capture his beloved sea.
Terra watched as the dark beauty gazed into the ocean. His sea green eyes captured the setting of the bay. He was sketching the sunset. She wondered why she was so taken by this man. Was it his eyes that reminded her of the ocean? Of her silent dream?
A week had passed and she finally returned to the bay. Her friends still shadowed her wherever she went. They were more babysitters than friends now. Terra knew they took her out in the afternoons because they pitied her. Her parents asked them to entertain her. She didn’t want this existence anymore.
Wretchedly, she turned her gaze back to the dark beauty with the eyes of the sea. He was enigmatic. His smile took her away. Terra felt a small contentment watching him sketching and smiling.
Dylan watched idly as Terra ate in silence. Flounder’s was always full but he can spot her anywhere. Her friends were busy chatting but she remained emotionless. “She th’ one, lad?” Nong Tashio asked. Dylan was snapped back to reality as Nong Tashio’s words registered. He nodded. Nong Tashio smiled. “Yup, just as I thought… Lad, you’re in for a hard ride. I don’t know why fate gave you such a difficult task.” Dylan couldn’t understand how hard his task would be. “She’s deaf, can’t hear your sweet siren words of the sea and the life underwater. There are no songs to lure her to the water.”
Dylan was flabbergasted. A nymph could sing to his mate and make her see the ocean in his voice. He could talk sultry poetry and woe her. Deaf? Nong Tashio’s words sunk in. Surely, there would be other ways to make her understand. Could there?
The next few days were agonizing. He kept seeing the girl watching the bay like a zombie. She did glance at him once or twice. He continued to sketch. It was the end of the week when he developed the courage to talk to her. He described the ocean knowing she couldn’t hear him. He showed her pictures of the sunset and the weedy ocean floors. He sketched the reefs with fishes and corals. She smiled a bit. Then her friends pulled her away for it was getting late. After that they began to meet everyday.
Everyday, he sketched for her. He drew his home and the places he wanted her to visit. She smiled but a smile was not enough. Desperately he wanted her to understand that he was inviting her to go to the sea. To go to his home.
“You must go home tomorrow, lad. If you don’t you will dry-up and stay here like me. It’s not a good life for one such as you. With or without her, you must go home.” Nong Tashio told him. He was right, Dylan thought. Tomorrow was the last day he could stay. He didn’t want to stay here. He had to go home with out her.
Terra paced the length of her room. Nothing interested her. Not her clothes, nor her collection of jewelry. Her green-eyed beauty swam in her mind. If only there was something more he offered than sketches. If only they didn’t need to speak through words. She wished she could go to the places he sketched for her.
If only it was an invitation to another world. If it was, then what? Is she willing to go?
Dylan did not work that morning. He remained in his room sketching the last pages of the papers Dario gave him. He was leaving. Perhaps in another century, he could try again. His silent beauty would be but a memory. Still, he wanted her to know of the beauty of the sea and the love he was offering. If only fate was not so cruel to a girl like her. She would be now singing with him, jumping into the waters and being carried to their underworld home.
Afternoon just before the sunset, he bade Nong Tashio a farewell and thank him. He waved to the other Sea Nymphs just surfaced to find their life-partners. He crossed the streets to the bay and waited for Terra one last time.
Dylan stood silently before the ledge. He looked like he wanted to jump, she mused. Terra gestured for her friends to wait at a distance and she approached Dylan alone. He wasn’t sketching today. He simply stood with the stack of papers tucked under his left arm. Terra smiled. She rarely smiled. This smile was brighter than the times he showed her pictures of the sea. This smile was genuinely for him. He smiled back but it was a sad smile. Tenderly, he handed her his last sketches and stood atop the safety railing.
Terra looked at the sketches. They were of Dylan’s watery home but this time, he was in it. He swam naked but the loincloth of seaweed hanging about his midsection. There were others about him swimming in the same fashion. Then on another page, there was Dylan and her! They were lovingly embracing in the serene water world.
She looked up at him. Dylan stretched out a hand. This was the invitation she longed for. He was taking her to the sea! Her heart beat a mad tattoo as she took his hand and he lifted her to step on the railing and they took the leap into a different world.
Dylan and Terra
Her disability was not a hindrance to understanding the deep, blue ocean. She saw the silent beauty around her as she felt the water around her. To feel! That was what she longed. Now here she was, immersed in her dreams. The seaweeds were slippery, the corals rough and the schools of fishes that cascaded around them tickled her.
Dylan rarely lets her hand go. He wanted to hold her and she liked it too. The sadness in her eyes was gone. It was replaced by immense happiness. They were both happy, incredibly happy that they emanated this joy throughout their watery home.
Terra and Dylan lived centuries together. They populated the water world with ten healthy boys and they all were as lucky as their father in finding their life mates but that would be ten different stories. For now, we end with Terra and Dylan.