The Mermaid and the Sun

(Author’s Note: recreated here from a brief Basque myth)

There once was a beautiful mermaid with hair like bleached sand, golden white, and eyes bluer than the deepest ocean. Everyday she swam with the dolphins, testing her strength and agility, as she was fueled by the light of the sun—a perfect light, refracting off the white foam and wrapping itself around her. In love, this sunlight was with her lithe and perfect form, forever moving and galloping across the water. Some would even say the sunlight came to follow her, to know her, to burst out from behind a perfect cloud the instant she appeared upon the water…only to leave when she crawled upon warm rocks to rest, sleep or eat.

Though many man saw her and came to desire her, even love her from afar, she gave her body only to the water and the sun. She spoke to the dolphins and other sea creatures; excited birds circled around her sometimes like a crazy, shifting crown. Free she was, belonging to no one. And in her freedom was the deepest joy and a perpetual sorrow.

None of this escaped the sun, as it draped its loving light around her, lifted her up and over the waves, and carried her across the water fast as any creature could swim. He too belonged to everyone and no one. Till one day, he could stand it no longer. In desire for another — What is this! — he shed a single tear, which reached out and became a tongue, arching itself down to her as the most brilliant rainbow the world had ever seen. His rainbow tongue touched her and gently gathered her up to himself. Alas, he was joined with one with another.

Their joy gave birth to seven tears, each one more beautiful than the one before … but then the sun’s mother, who gave birth to all things, even time itself, came and reminded her son: His love is to fall on each and all, equally, perfectly, without fail, without judgment, without preference, or more love or less love for one or another. And because this sun loved its mother, he spat out his beautiful, perfect mermaid, who was so much like him it hurt.

And flying out of his joyous, weeping, laughing mouth (for at long last, at least for a moment, he had known his perfect love joined completely with another), she was launched like a shooting star, in August, when the sun is King and no one can doubt his love and benevolence. And streaking across the sky, she broke into many, many shooting stars, falling to a fragrant earth, each planting itself and growing into the ripest harvest moon.

No longer can the mermaid be seen, swimming, laughing, singing with the dolphins.

Instead, each day at dusk, when one can see neither the sun nor the moon, you might catch a glimpse of her, starlike, her hair blinking in the sky. For the stars are their children, the sun and the moon, and a constant reminder how they can never be joined … except in the heart of true love .…

[Gary D Aker lives in Portland, Oregon where he currently pursues dance, photography and creating his crime novels, in addition to writing lyrical and narrative poetry, flash fiction, sudden memoir, long-form memoir, articles, numerology charts and whatever else is lying about that needs to get written. His poetry and flash fiction has been recently published in Night Bomb Press, and The Smoking Poet.]

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