The year: 2003. My grandma was turning 80! So my big brother and I went down to her house in Fort Lauderdale to hang out with her and celebrate. We went to the Mai Kai and drank tiki drinks … we went to the Rustic Inn and ate garlic crabs … and, of course, we went to the beach.
Usually we opted for Dania Beach because it's generally pretty quiet and deserted. (I think 'cause there's nowhere to buy beer.) But for some reason, that day we ended up at hot, crowded Hollywood Beach. My super-tan grandma oiled up in the sun, my pale brother read a paperback in a cabana, and I headed straight out to the water.
Because, you see, I am a December Capricorn, a sea goat, a creature of the deep. One time when I was buying tampons at a Rite-Aid on Delancey Street, the cashier looked at me for a long moment and said "You … you come from the water." And, I guess it was an odd thing to say in that context, but she was right. On land, I can be awkward, a little slow to get going. But in the sea, I jump and dash and dive like a dolphin. I become the glitter on the water. I disappear.
On that particular day, the sky was bright blue and dotted with impressive Floridian clouds, and I sparkled on the surface of the waves, giddy and weightless. The ocean tossed me merrily up and down, and, as I often do when filled with immense joy, I began to sing.
I want to be where the mermaids are I wanna see,
wanna see them swimming
Flappin around with those, whaddaya call them?
Plodding on feet you don't get too far
Fins are required for gliding, diving
Bouncing the light off your, what's that word again?
Down where they swim
Down where they twirl
More like a fish and less like a girl
All open sea
Wish I could be
Part of that world
Don't worry, I was far enough out that there was no one near enough to hear my ridiculous little song.
Except King Triton, maybe. Or possibly God. Because when I came out of my reverse-Ariel reverie, I saw something. Two little heads, bobbing in the water, hundreds of yards further out into the ocean.
Immediately I knew — something wasn't right and I had to act. Put another way, I had earnestly requested to be a mermaid, and now I was being called upon to become one.
So I dove into the waves and swam as fast as I could to what turned out to be two tired little girls clinging to each other and dully treading water. When I got close enough, they climbed onto me, gratefully and without a word. And the three of us made our way back to shore.
We found their older brother further up the beach. He nearly burst into tears when I handed them over. Gracias, he said quickly, hugging the little girls tight. De nada, I replied, and flapped back into the water.
Later, over giant scoops of creamy cold ice cream, I told this story to my grandma and my brother, but I'm not sure they believed me. Ah well.
Previously: The Best Time I Was a 200 Pound Beauty* Queen.
Megan Dietz usually makes custom dresses and talks shit about the fashion industry at Wear the Shift. But today she is getting ready to go on vacation! To Florida!!!