Open your mind and see the beauty before you. Let the colours and sounds wash over you like a river.
Be still. I promise you won’t drown, not right away.
Look into the ocean and see the shadows that ripple beneath the surface. See how the sand smiles up at them and how the water bends around their silvery fins. Watch as the sun glides across their pale skin and ricochets off their diamond eyes. Have you seen their lush lips, as delicate as a freshly plucked rose?
Have you heard their song? Have you listened to them sing? Yes, I know you have. Your ship has sailed on Siren shores, your men have fallen prey to their music. But what about you? Why have you not jumped from the rough ledge of your ship? Why have you clung to the splintering railings, desperate to fight your destiny, as your men dove into the bubbling sea below?
That’s what you think is waiting in the churning waters below. Are you worried that the salty water will burn your lungs? It won’t. Are you worried about the sting of her lips on yours? Her teeth aren’t nearly as sharp as they look, dear friend. The water will cool the fire in your chest, do not be afraid.
There she is. You can see her now, can’t you? She waves at you from the starboard side and her smile, have you seen anything more beautiful? Have you seen anything so pure? Her body is like spring rain to your soul, her very voice pouring life into your desolate heart. You fool, let go of the railing! She’s waiting for you, she’s calling to you. Why aren’t you listening to her song? Jump to her. Jump now. She’ll catch you, I know.
Your ship is empty. Every last man has given themselves to the songs of the sea. The ship sways in the angry water, the sun slinking behind thunderclouds. Light crackles across the sky, fracturing the air with electricity. The mast is battered by the wind, the sails ripping apart with no one left to fix them. The sea splashes onto the deck, staining the wood with salt and foam. The boat is empty, all that’s left is you. You and the woman, the Siren.
What is it that you want? What is it that you’re waiting for? She reaches out, why don’t you just wave at her? Why don’t you just lend her a tiny smile? It won’t cost you much, will it? A smile is free depending on who you give it to.
No one will mind if you step down from the wheel of the ship and make your way across the deck. Careful now, the sea has made it slippery, one wrong move and you may just land in her outstretched arms. Oh, come on, it’s not so bad is it? A hug? A hug doesn’t cost anything either, but the ring on your wedding finger contradicts that, doesn’t it? Is that why you’re resisting? Is the wedding band holding you back?
You’ve crossed the ship. You’ve waved and smiled. She smiles back, but you’ve kept her waiting too long. She’s restless, restless like the wind, and she starts to slip beneath the darkening waters. You’re not ready to say goodbye. I knew you weren’t.
You grab her hand. She pulls you close. She whispers in your ear and the sound is as sweet as an angel. Her lips graze your ear, your cheek. Your lips find hers and her song is silenced while you kiss. But her silence makes the wind scream. Her silence lets you hear the waves crashing against the hull of your precious ship. You can hear the rocks carving holes into the underbelly, filling her soul with a mountain of salt.
You push away, but you’re too late. The water is above your head now, the lightning flashing on the surface, getting farther and farther away. Your eyes sting and you remember what I said about the hellfire. You never asked if it would burn your eyes, but maybe you never thought that something so beautiful and innocent could hurt you so bad.
Take a deep breath, let the ocean in. Your ship has crashed, it’s sinking now, just like you. The dove flies over the tattered sails, in its beak it holds a piece of the white fabric. Surrender. Peace. It will fly home and bring word to the one who bears the same silver ring as you. Don’t worry, the dove cannot speak, it cannot explain why you went across the deck, why you went overboard with the lady of the sea. But, on that sliver of white sail there is a tiny Siren scale, that will be all the explaining they get. They won’t know why you left, but they’ll know who you went with.
In the days after the storm, your ship will wash up on shores both near and far. Treasures and memories will travel across the globe, picked up by birds and small animals, swallowed by sharks and whales. They’ll find pieces of you everywhere they go.
And you must be so disappointed in yourself. You must be so disappointed that you weren’t stronger. That you weren’t more cautious. You must hate that you were so easy to sway. You must hate me, for pushing you, but haven’t you realized what I am? I am you—well, a part of you.
Do you blame me? Do you blame yourself? Who do they blame? The one who wears the wedding band. The one you were trying so hard to remember when the Siren sang in your ear. Who will they blame?
Maybe they will blame the ship for taking you out to sea, for taking you away to somewhere so far out of their reach. Maybe they will blame the dove for showing them the Siren’s scale. Maybe they will blame the Siren for wanting you in her arms. Maybe they will blame you.
You want to blame the men on your ship for giving up so easily; for abandoning you when you were calling to them for help. But did you call to them or did you watch as they jumped, one by one, into the water? You want to blame the sun for disappearing in the storm. You want it to be the Siren’s fault, because you found out her name was Temptation.
But the truth is so much simpler than all that. The truth is that it was you who’s to blame. It was you who got on the ship. It was you who sailed out to sea. It was you who followed the music of the ocean until you were surrounded by the drowning devils. It was you who thought it was okay to smile, to wave, to get just one step closer. But one step turned into two, turned into three, and then you were head over heels. Drowning. Sinking. You know, you didn’t have to take that fatal last breath when you went under. You could have swum up to the surface instead.
Though, I suppose... when you think you’re drowning, when you think that you can’t be saved, that no one is left to pull you up...Well, I suppose taking that last breath seemed like the best option.
But if you had reached upwards towards the choppy surface, you would have found a hand waiting to pull you from the frothy surf. The hand would be attached to the body of hellfire and spring rain, of love and hate, of sorrow and forgiveness. And on that hand would be a silver wedding band. One that matched perfectly with yours.