The siren’s melody had her in a trance for as long as she’s laid eyes on the sea. It was love at first sight. The vastness, the mystery below the reflection of the setting sun; it was all so tantalizing to her fixed state within the boardwalk’s diner. Her senses craved every sensation the sea promised her, the very sight of the rolling waves seemed to beckon to her. She would catch herself staring and longing for the waves, for the sea salt to spray in her face, the wind to card it’s fingers through her hair and tousle it like a lover; until an irritated tone would disrupt her reverie.
“Waitress, I said I’ll have the grilled salmon with extra garlic butter on the side.” The voice shook her as she quickly glanced back down at the older gentleman, gut protruding beyond his thighs; proving extra garlic butter was unnecessary.
“Oh yes! My apologies.” She stammered and scribbled down the man’s request.
The aging man glared at her as she briskly hurried back to the kitchen to place the order, her head low to hide her reddening face. That was the third time she was caught daydreaming this week with plenty of customers complaining to her manager about her inattentive state.
A man positioned just a few booths back from the older gentleman had to suppress a smile as the waitress hurried by. He had been observing her as she became lost in thought as she faced the window. It had only taken him a few seconds to realize she was fixed on the sea. She had heard the siren’s tune as well.
She had given him a quick curious glance when she slipped past his table from the kitchen. He was smiling at her, his eyes avoiding hers in that brief moment as she hurried by. Had he seen her daze as well? As embarrassing as it was to discover another had seen her daydreaming, his smile intrigued her. It was a soft smile, like he caught himself gazing as well. At the ocean? At her? When she had returned to the older gentleman with his food, she was disappointed to find the man gone; his coffee mug still half-full. Had he heard the siren’s call?
No sooner had the dinner rush ended and the lights finally drowning the diner in darkness, she relieved herself of the stained apron; stuffing it into her purse and kicking her shoes off as she approached the sand just beyond the diner. There wasn’t even a second thought to head home and change first before enjoying the night by the surf. Her consciousness pleading to feel the sand between her toes and the waves lap at her feet, beckoning her to walk deeper and deeper until the bottom of her uniform skirt became wet at the knees. She longed to grow gills and sink under the now inky black waters, to swim with the life thriving below. She couldn’t shake the ocean’s call. The hands practically grabbing at her ankles and pushing on the back of her knees. Tempting her to forget life beyond the sand; the demands, the stress, the requests that had collared her, a chain that kept her to that small family diner as she bid to everyone’s wishes and wills.
The simple dollar bills stuffed hastily into her pocket all of a sudden meant nothing. The old man ripping her from the siren’s call to demand his stupid salmon and extra side of unneeded garlic butter was just a parasite crawling around her subconscious. All of it meant nothing in that very moment. Should she dare keep walking? Until her head would sink below the waves where she would grow gills and swim away, her uniform lost and washing up on the shore miles away. A shell that kept her from feeling the cool water caress each curve and ridge, wrap and warp around her fingers and toes, curling through her hair and defying gravity. She was about to take another step forward before she heard yet another voice calls out to her, this one not matching the melody of the siren.
“Miss?” She turned to see the same man from the diner, the one who had quirked a smile at her as she hurried by, the man with the half-empty coffee mug.
“Miss, you know it’s getting late? Don’t want to be caught up in a rip-tide this time of night.”
She kept silent, still facing the man but not looking directly at him. Ashamed in a way that he had found her, this stranger, so vulnerable with knees deep in the increasing pull of the salt water. She kept hearing the siren, ‘Come closer’ it pleaded as this man stared longingly at her, hands stuffed deep into his pockets, curled into fists. The wind had extended a finger and pulled her gaze away from him, her chin turning back to the horizon where the water met the sky. It pulled her hair from either sides of her face, letting the strawberry blond strands fall through it’s fingers to return to her shoulders. She could tell the man was becoming tense as he watched her falter between returning to shore and walking further beyond the sand.
He extended a hand from his pocket to help her past the last of the lapping waves as she found the sand to settle between her toes once again. It took a moment for her to finally lift her head and meet his eyes, surprised to see another gentle grin adorning his features.
“There we go.” He kept a hold on her hand as he began gingerly tugging her from the water, “You heard the siren haven’t you?”
There was no shame in the answer she gave, a slight head nod to confirm she had. He clicked his tongue and chuckled.
“Many people do. However, I always thought it better to see the ocean from above the waves. No use in seeing them from below, there’s just darkness.”
She chewed on the sides of her mouth, taking into consideration his advice. Below the waves, she would not feel the sea salt spray in her face. She would not feel the wind scratch at her scalp or the gentle laps at her feet. There was no view below the waves, she knew this man to speak the truth once seeing the words “Life Guard” embroidered onto the left side of his shirt, just inches above the heart. Of all people, he would know.
About the Creator
Writing has been a passion I've only been continuing to grow with over the past several years. The inner-workings of my mind produce many topics of interest from simple daily insights to fictional and non-fictional shorts stories. Enjoy!