The Liquid Sparkled
from The Little Mermaid
The thin grass strings of the ghost net were wrapped securely around my right wrist. As soon as I realized what had happened, I began to struggle. That only pulled it tighter. The lines were made strong to entrap the mahi mahi. I had dropped the knife from my belt, swimming down to grab the immense oyster lying on the sand, under the net that I hadn’t noticed in my eagerness. The mollusk was the size of both of my hands spread out, and I could picture the pearl in the middle, as big as my thumb. In the center of that luminous pearl, a tiny grain of sand. This, my last pearl, had quickened my karma.
My knife lay next to a magnificent, lavender sponge. Too far, I couldn’t even reach it with my foot. The needlefish nosing around it was of no danger to me now. I settled gently next to a huge fan coral that waved gracefully in the current. A few small blue tang paused next to me. Blue body, yellow fins, dark faces peering inquisitively. The school grew larger and encircled me. My wake.
Letting the last of the air out of my lungs, I watched the small silvery bubbles’ rushing and jostling ascent to the surface and the sun that wavered far above. When I inhaled again, the water felt familiar in my lungs. I was back in my mother’s womb: part of the sea, the coral, and the tangs dancing around me. I found their dance and embraced it.