It’s 5:30 in the morning, and she rides her fixie in the park, not as cool as it should be in October, but still with diffuse and late coming soon, and the gossamer and damp fog.
Saturday morning, no hustle and bustle of the work-a-day world, it’s all hers, a queen of a still and unawakened kingdom, a queen of something being lost, to the world and to growing up.
She stops and stands with her bike by the little creek that runs through the park, clear and cold, but still with trash and cigarette butts discarded in it. The little creek that mesmerized her as a girl, that her mother told her to stay away from.
She didn’t bring her earbuds this morning, and she heard the wind rustling the leaves and the tall Cat Tails in the water, and heard the calls of the morning birds.
And she heard a mermaid sing. In the distance, in that thin and wet fog, she saw the shape of the siren in the first of the rising sun, combing her long, dark hair, and singing into the world.
She put herself back on her back, and slowly and silently pedaled her way to the mermaid, not even fifty feet ahead of her. The song clutched her heart, made it ache, made her long for something she could not name.
The song filled her ears, a high and sweet melody, sorrowful and beautiful.
The mermaid combed her hair and sang, and looked up at the sky, as all the stars were retreating.
She pedaled to the mermaid, but the mermaid finally saw her, and dived into the water, swimming to were the mouth of the creek met the lake, and was gone from site.
She stopped and stood again with her bike, seeing only ripples were the mermaid had swam away. In the back of her mind, a thought picked at her, that mermaids had never swam away when she was a child.
The morning was still again, and her heart ached, and she wiped away tears. The fog and the peace and what little cool there was was starting to lift and leave the waking world. The world awoke, even on a Saturday.
She looked into the water, where the mermaid had fled, until the ripples were still. Then she got back on her bike and rode back to her house, realizing everything would change and slip away.