Manhattan. The city of magic. Not that it beats Paris or anything. I have always wanted to visit Paris, with the huge Eiffel Tower glittering above the city. Well, here in NYC, the E. Tower is the ESB (Empire State Building.) It looks okay, I mean yeah, it is really tall, but other than that, Manhattan is just like every other place in New York. Messy, smelly, but pretty at the same time. Hello, my name is Geraldine and I live with my mom near the Hudson River.
The Hudson River is smelly. Believe me; if you just moved into my apartment, you would hate it. Waking up to the smell of dirty river water. Yuck, and that doesn’t make me much popular at school. I am known as the “River Girl.” I think “Ocean” might have a better sound than river, but what do they know? Also, I hate the dirty, murky water, but my mom insists on being hear the Hudson River. “You need the smell of a body of water,” she constantly tells me. Well, I don’t think so, but moms know best right? (P.S. I rather wake up to the smell of ocean water not polluted river/city water.)
I don’t get why I need water so much. I went on this missionary trip with my aunt when I was 12 and it was in this remote village in like the desert where it rains once every 5 weeks. Day 1 wasn’t even over and I was hyperventilating. Being an actor, I fainted and was rushed the ER. Also, I seem to have this super ability to stay under water for as long as I want. My record, 36 minutes. Of course, my mom freaked out, and I was in the ER room again. Twice in that week all because of water.
Then all of a sudden, she seems to get this feeling that I am like, a daughter of water or something and we move from Flushing where they have that little lake in Kissena Part to an apartment right next to the Hudson River. It felt really weird, the smell actually made me feel; well, like I belonged in it. Of course, that would be just disgusting, swimming in the murky water. Another queer thing, Mom was sick for 2 weeks because of the smell, but I was perfectly fine.
So, now let’s forward into the present times. It is now 2006, I am 15 and life can only get worse right? The streets are really slippery and it snows like every other day. Really strange weather. The river has been frozen for almost 2 months and it feels really, well, cold, the same way I feel inside. Now, today is December 26th and I was born at 11:58 pm. So technically, it is my birthday. I am on winter break, (Whoo-hoo!) and life is really peaceful. Mom works until 9 each night and only has 3 rest days per month. If my mom wasn’t Super-work Woman, I would be surprised how she survived.
Now, birthday. That is when you get presents and everything. As I sat on the beach, I was thinking about birthdays as a teen. Well, of course, being a teenager, the worse thing that can happen to you is when your parents drag you to Applebee’s and make the employees sing, “Happy Birthday,” to you. That is the worst thing right? Yeah, that is what I thought also until my present came along this morning. A photo. Of who? Of my dad, the worst dad in the world. The one the dumped me and Mom for a life on an island and my mom gives me a picture of him. WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER!
This is what is wrong. Before he left, (which is by the way, 3 months before I was born,) he asked my mom to bring me to the beach on my 16th birthday. So here we are, sitting on the sand, when a guy walks over. Mom, she starts tearing up like mad. Me, I am sitting there staring at this guy who is making my mom act like a one-year-old. And this is what he says to me, “Geraldine, I am your father.”
Pause. This dude walks up out of nowhere and he is my dad. I turn to my mom, “He is kidding isn’t he?” Mom just shakes her head and continues to blubber. Great. Then, the absolute worst thing in the world happens. He tells me, “I am a merman.” My dad turns into a part fish creature aka a merman. Tada. A perfect birthday. I just stare at him until he shifts uncomfortably on the sand.
Okay, so apparently what Mom said about the worse guy on Planet Earth is actually a merman. A creature that only exists in mythological stories. So then, we continue to have this conversation and he tells me, “Geraldine, you are a semi-mer.” I flip. I have a tail. You have got to be kidding right! A TAIL! I have a tail with fish scales on them. “No wait, you are a siren.” HOLD IT! Siren? That is even worse! I don’t want to kill people and besides, nobody in my school even likes me and sirens are supposed to have irresistible singing voices and beauty right? Oh, and I don’t want to be half human and half bird. (See, I got brains on Greek Mythology.)
Then, he explained, or should we say, got into the details. “Since your mother is a human (Gee, thanks Mom,) you have the ability to shift into mermaid form when you want to, but the human part allows you to be able to resist the call of the ocean, and the water,” he paused and took out a bottle of murky Pacific Ocean water, “When you drink this, you will become a siren, with beauty beyond normal.” I just stare at him. He has got to be nuts. There is NO way on this planet Earth that I am going to drink THAT!
“Umm… So, do I have to drink the whole thing?” I ask.
“No, one sip,” he replies. Okay, one sip, I can do that, I think. Well, I know inner beauty is what matters, but it is really irresistible.
“What about the people at school, will I be like really pretty that they like think I am another person?”
“No, each time you take a sip, your beauty will increase, when you finish this bottle, you need to throw it into the river, (I AM NOT GOING TO LITTER!) And I will refill it for you. You must always keep on drinking; at least one sip per month or your beauty will wear away and slowly, your human life. If that happens, you must return to the ocean. One sip starts it all.” Okay, I am really scared now. I just have to take one sip and then if I don’t keep sipping one sip, I basically stop being human and turn into a fish. Wait, correction, mermaid. This is really starting to scare me because I happen to decided at the next moment to scream on the top of my lungs.
My dad just looks are me, amused, “There is no one here Geraldine, nobody, but me, your mother, and the ocean will hear you.” That gets me to stop; a whole ocean with who knows what other type of mythological creature is in it listening to me scream my head off. Okay, I will be a good fishy and stop. After this one last scream, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
So if you are wondering how I reacted in all to this, I saw my dad change. Trust me, it is a really strange sight, I do not ever, ever, ever, EVER, want to see my dad bare-chested again in my life. Luckily for me, mermaids live for a long time, they are not immortal, but they live for quite a long time. He had a tail that was the color of onyx. It was pitch black with streaks of dark purple swirling around the fin. Then, he asked me to change. I said no. (DUH!) This is his response, “Changing into a mermaid won’t kill you, starting your siren life will. I want you to experience your tail.” I finally gave in and followed his instructions, breathe in, imagine yourself swimming through crystal clear water (Umm… the oceans these days aren’t exactly “crystal clear”), and finally imagine your tail, just the shape of a tail, the color has already been chosen for you by the water nymphs.
I did what he said, and the next minute, I was sitting next to my mom, on the sand, wearing a woven half tank top of silver seaweed, and my feet were gone. In its place was a silver tail with an indigo imprint of the moon at the right tip of my clear fin. I didn’t know what having a silver tail meant, but apparently, it was something scary. Why am I guessing this? Because my dad was staring at my tail with his jaw open. “What?” I asked.
“Geraldine, only the Elementals have silver tails and our clan has only had 1 Elemental in history.” He replied.
“Umm… What is an Elemental supposed to be?” I asked.
“Elementals are special chosen mer-folk that have the ability to connect with other elements of nature. You element is water, that means that there are 3 other teens, your age, that are the Elemental for their clan. “
Okay, I admit, this starting to get awesome! “So in my town, somewhere, there are 3 other teens that have the ability to change into something that relates to fire, air, and earth?”
“Yes, the fire element is portrayed by the dragons; the Elemental would be the only fire-breather in his/her clan. Air is the firebird, but the Elemental for air will be a phoenix, sometimes, he or she might be the chinox or ice phoenix. Earth is the Pegasus. Regular earth elements would be brown, but the Elemental will be white. The Earth Element is also special, the chosen Elemental will also be able to turn into a faerie. White for the air is like the special color as silver is for mer-folk.”
I sat there flicking my tail back and forth, and then my mom sneezes. Oops, I forgot, for some weird reason, I was freezing before, now in fish form, I feel fine and I am wearing a tank top, but my mom is still human. You know, it feels weird; I am not like my mom anymore. I am more like that stranger sitting in front of me in the water with a tail. Actually, I am neither. I am a mermaid that is also a siren. This is strange, but I think I can get used to it. Now the hard part is actually finding my three siblings in nature, as my father puts it, and complete the Elemental Circle.
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