Wednesday, February 15, 2012


More Than Meets the Eye
By Linda M. Crate

The falls are beautiful this time of year — or so they said. He didn’t really notice, he was spending too much time with his girlfriend to notice much else. He supposed if he looked he might have seen the beauty in them, but right now that wasn’t a primary concern.

Lavender had invited him over for dinner, he suggested that they might see the falls afterward. She seemed rather ecstatic about it. He didn’t understand that one simple suggestion would light up her eyes like the sun star but it had.

When he arrived to her grandmother’s house he saw the friendly old woman sitting in a rocking chair on the porch. He smiled at her, but she seemed to have a sinister expression etched in the folds of her old face, he blinked a few times and she was waving at him, as always. He tried to shake the eerie feeling aside. Lavender’s grandmother was a sweet, old lady incapable of hurting a fly!

He helped her grandmother up and together they walked into the house. Lavender stood with her back to them, finishing up the last minute arrangements at the table. She looked lovely in a white cotton sun dress complete with small scarlet strawberries sewn into the fabric. She looked lovely — tall and willowy with pale skin that refused to tan and scarlet hair that fell down her back in waves.

Her grandmother cleared her throat. “Florian, my boy, would you mind reaching for the wine glasses, please? They’re a little too high up for me to reach.”

“Oh, of course,” Florian blushed, feeling his cheeks creep up in heat. The grandmother had seen him eying up Lavender, he was certain of it, by the way she kept grinning at him. He was embarrassed — what would his mother say if she knew? She would be quite ashamed, he knew it.

He was quite grateful was dinner was over. He even helped Lavender with the dishes so that they could get out of the house without feeling too uncomfortable.

When they walked outside into the summer sun it glistened gold upon them and shimmered upon the dew beads still caught on some of the blades of grass. He couldn’t understand how he didn’t note it’s beauty on the way over.

“It’s so pretty!” Lavender exclaimed, spinning a few circles. She walked over to the lilac tree and pulled off a small branch, using the flowers to adorn her hair. “How do I look?”

“Magnificent, as always!”

“Shameless flatterer.”

“I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true.”

She laughed happily, twining her hands with his. “Let’s go see the falls. I’m sure they look wonderful especially in a day as bright and cheerful as this one.”

He smiled. “You’re right,” he concurred.

They arrived at the falls to examine their beauty — the sun shone and shimmered through the crystal waters in beads and bending blades of light; the water dazzled like dragonfly wings. Lavender smiled at the sight. “I wish I could go swimming,” she sighed.

“Why can’t you?”

“Grandma said so.”

“Why, what happens —?”

“What does it matter? I’m not going to,” she shrugged. She leaned over and gave him a kiss on the forehead. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” he remarked, perplexed over why Lavender couldn’t swim. He had dated her for two years and she had never gone swimming before. He wondered why. She had never expressed a yearning or desire to before today, but now that she had he grew suspicious. Why wouldn’t her grandmother let her go swimming?

Nonchalantly he ‘accidently’ bumped her into the water. “I’m sorry,” he called, as she fell into one of the shallower streams of water.

She laughed as she fell into the rivulets of bending light dancing upon the depths. “It’s okay,” she remarked, smiling. “I don’t want to freak you out or anything,” she went on, “but I don’t see how I can hide this any longer.” With that, she raised her fins, and his eyes went wide.

“You’re a mermaid?”

“Yeah,” she answered. “But then I fell in love with you — when I saw you, I don’t know, something in me just yearned for you. I pined away for days when I first saw you at the beach. My parents decided that I could live as a mortal only if grandmother came with me —.”

“Is your name really Lavender?” he asked. If they could hide the fact that she was a mermaid from him, he wondered what else they could hide.

“Yes,” she answered. “Because my fin is purple,” she remarked. “My parents weren’t very original.” She sighed. “Grandma is going to be so mad when she finds out what happened.”

“I’m sorry, I did it on purpose,” he admitted, hanging his head. “I just wanted —.”

“I know you meant no harm,” she interjected. “I’m not mad at you, but my throat is getting tired of raising my voice to be heard. Come swim with me?”

“Okay,” he agreed. First he pinched himself just to be sure that this was real. It was. He couldn’t imagine that this would have happened in a thousand years. Florian knew he would still be reeling over this fact days and maybe even months from now. His true love wasn’t even of this world — maybe his mother was right in calling him weird. Shoving that thought aside, he jumped into the water to join his girlfriend.

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Linda Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry has recently been featured in Magic Cat Press, Black-Listed Magazine, Bigger Stones, and Vintage Poetry. One of her short stories has been featured in Carnage Conservatory and she has an upcoming short story for publication in Dark Gothic Reconstructed Magazine in April 2012.


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