"Beauty in the Water"
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
Sandy stared down at the clear water, her friends encouraging her to jump. She clung to the coarse rope, her toes just over the edge of the cliff. All of her friends had already jumped. They made it look easy, but now that it was her turn, her heart pounded in her chest. The river seemed so far away now, though it was no more than fifteen feet below. Having second thoughts about this venture, Sandy took a step back, the rock warm beneath her feet. With the sun slicing through the trees, the top of the cliff was a rather nice place to sit and read. Reading is more inviting than the frigid water, Sandy thought.
“Come on, Sandy! Don’t be chicken,” Drake called. Lilly and Randal laughed and echoed,
“Chicken! Sandy’s a chicken!”
Though the taunts were meant to compel Sandy to jump and join them, they had the opposite effect. Sandy would rather stubbornly remain on the cliff than give into the jeers. Better yet, she’d explore on her own.
With her mind made up, she released the rope and backtracked down the cliff to the riverside, far enough from her friends that they didn’t see her, a fact made evident as they continued to yell at the cliff. Snickering at their ignorance, Sandy walked downriver along the bank. She was careful not to step in the water until faced with a pivotal choice: wade in the water or venture into the woods to avoid a thick patch of raspberry bushes. Her fear of getting lost outweighed her dislike of water, and she gingerly stepped into the flow.
As she suspected, the water was ice cold, though she had to admit--only to herself, of course--that it was rather refreshing. She was sticky from the heat, and splashed in the shallows. Above her in the trees, birds flitted from branch to branch, singing sweet spring songs. Crayfish and minnows scattered at her every step along the slimy, pebbly bottom. Every once in a while Sandy even saw a fish swim out from behind a rock, only to spot her and hide again.
Sandy walked upstream for quite some ways before thinking of her friends. When they discovered that she was no longer on the clifftop, they’d perhaps worry about her whereabouts. Letting a small sigh escape, she turned back in the direction of her friends, remaining in the water even after she passed the patch of raspberries.
She was nearly back to the cliff when something in the water caught her eye. At first she was tempted to dismiss the flash as another fish, but when she saw what looked like hair drifting out from behind a rock, she investigated further. Slowly, careful not to make a splash or hardly even a ripple in the water, Sandy crept closer to the rock until she could peer around it. To her surprise, a tiny pair of human eyes peered back! So shocked was Sandy, that she screamed and fell back into the icy stream, startling the creature further under the rock.
Sandy couldn’t believe what she’d seen. It just wasn’t possible. Recovering from her fright, she inched toward the rock again on her hands and knees, no longer caring how wet she got. As she peered behind the rock once more, she again saw tiny eyes staring back. The glossy eyes belonged to--did she really dare even think it?--a mermaid! A tiny, beautiful mermaid.
Silky green hair adorned her head, drifting gracefully with the current. Her body was covered in shimmery scales, from her shoulders to the tip of her tail. Sandy was transfixed by the creature’s tail. It swished back and forth in the water, color matching that of the yellow rocks of the river. Her fins were elegant and translucent, slicing through the water effortlessly.
Slowly, the tiny mermaid emerged from under the rock, looking as curiously at Sandy as Sandy was looking at her. The mermaid swam toward Sandy until they were separated by only a few inches. Sandy dared to reach her hand out to the creature, itching to know for sure whether the mermaid were real. To her surprise, the mermaid didn’t retreat. She allowed the intrusion. Sandy’s heart pounded; her muscles tensed. Her fingertips were just about to pierce the water to touch the small beauty when…
“Sandy! Where are you?”
Sandy started and looked upstream. Splashing could be heard as her friends approached in search of her. Muttering a less-than-ladylike word that Sandy would never let her friends catch her voicing, she looked back into the water where the mermaid had been hiding, but to Sandy’s dismay, she wasn’t there. Being startled by the call as Sandy was, she’d quickly swum away to ensure her anonymity. Heaving a sigh, Sandy stood to face her friends as they raced toward her.
“There you are!” Drake splashed toward her. “We’ve been looking for you. Why’d you just wander off?”
Sandy simply shrugged, scanning the water for the mermaid.
Lilly sighed and took her hand. “Come on. We gotta get home now anyway.”
Quickly engrossed in a new topic, the three friends led Sandy back upstream to the trail. She followed without a word, disheartened, constantly glancing over her shoulder. And, just before she stepped out of the water, for just a moment, she thought she caught a glimpse of a yellow shimmer and green flowing hair. Her spirits thus revived, Sandy swore to return to the river as soon as she could to discover more about her new friend.