For the love of the open azure sky.
“I WANT TO BE A PRINCESS” yelled the little mermaid.
“But you are already my princess, darling” replied the Mermaid King in soothing tones. Yet his voice had given up—not because of his old age, but because of seeing his daughter in distress. Cracks developed in his notes, through which the monstrosity of his daughter’s demand infiltered. The little mermaid heaved a sigh of extreme exasperation and swam away leaving her father alone in his throne room. Tiny pearls glinted with a warm glow where she left a stream of her wistful tears.
Days went by but the nights became longer. The waters of Silvercrest turned violet with the tears of the little mermaid. The ocean no longer shone in its pristine aquamarine shades. The little mermaid cried and cried until the Silvercrest hill submerged itself in the anguished whirlpool of her voilet tears.
Above–where skylarks soar
And saline sorrows cry
But here I am—Below.
She wandered aimlessly through the currents of water—poking her head around the coral reefs and playing hide and seek amidst the underwater gardens, but nothing made her happy. She left a trail of a sad requiem of a dream wherever she went. At night, she climbed on the sea stack and sang her heart out. The pain in her voice overturned the bowl of blue overhead until the stars dripped—silver against her voilet tears; they gave the illusion of a swirling galaxy wherever they melted into one. Sequins dropped into her outstretched hands and licked the wounds on her back. Moonbeams lit candles all along her spine—giving her the look of a fairy. One unfortunate night, the Mermaid King saw his little daughter—glittering like fairy lights on the crest of the outcrop. A staggering pang of pain crippled him from inside.
With a swish of his hand, the Mermaid King did what his heart was against. He granted his daughter: her wish; he gave her the freedom she coveted. He wanted to end her pain—forever.
The spell did its work. As if by some invisible magical force, the little mermaid soared above—like a bird she hovered with outstretched wings. Her tail disappeared and in its place she had long beautiful legs which dangled from her body like an exquisitely built chandelier. A pale blue dress draped around her slender body shimmered—as if carved out from a scintillating piece of diamond. Beautiful blonde locks of hair cradled her divinely crafted face. When she laughed, it came out in a soprano. The Mermaid King took this all in—a picture of his daughter in her happiest moment etched deep into his heart.
“Goodbye, my little Princess” murmured the Mermaid King and went into the thalassic depths of despair.
As the little mermaid dropped onto the sea stack, her glass shoes shone like rhinestones in the lambency of the midnight moon. She tried to breathe in the delicacy of the open air but something constricted her throat. Her body craved the oxygen but she couldn’t grasp onto the diaphanous ether. The little mermaid let out an anguished cry as she choked in her own bubble of freedom. The pelagic landscape went into mourning while the Mermaid King entrenched in his guilt and sorrow, drifted in the seas below collecting the precious remnants of his beloved daughter’s tears—the pining pearls of misery.
For the love of the open azure sky.
(I received the first prize for this story at the Bhubaneswar Literary Meet organisd by Tata Steel. I would have received my award from THE Amitav Ghosh himself–had I been present in the event but I had been to some other nightmarish place. Anyway. Pity, I couldn’t meet one of the acclaimed novelist–Shri Ghosh.)