“Of course, I had heard stories about mermaids. But I assumed they were just more sailor’s tales…the words of lonely men at sea for months on end. And I had seen mermaids carved in the front of ships. It’s rather a different situation to see a mermaid right in front of you. But there she was. She didn’t ask anything of me, whereas I had many questions for her. I wasn’t sure what to do with our… relationship, if that is the word for it. I can’t stay in the water. She can’t be on land. But she had a suggestion.”
“The mermaid had some advice for me, as well as a warning. And then she was gone. And I was once again alone. And lonely. But I will persevere. Being busy is helps. First task? A roof of sorts over my head. Eve—did I tell you that was the mermaid’s name—had suggested I needed a stronger structure to protect me from storms. And coconuts. She was right. So I began to build. As often happens, the day got away from me as I concentrated on work. The finished product is unlikely to stand the test of time, but it should keep me dry and safe. Once I had stepped away to critique the roof, I heard something in the water. Could it be Eve? Did she miss me also? Would she hold me in her arms? As I looked more carefully, I realized it wasn’t Eve at all. It wasn’t a mermaid. It wasn’t a person. I had never seen anything like it…”
“No, that wasn’t Eve in the water. And I am quite sure I don’t want to be held in those arms.
Whatever this creature is, it has many arms. Arms to spare. Six or more. It could be a squid, I suppose. Sailors had told me about squids. Dreadful-sounding creatures. The one I am observing seems a sight more…cheerful. I began to think the arms (could be ten in number) were beckoning to me. Come here. Come there? To greet a sea monster of some sort? Even a young Irishman like myself knows better than that. But the creature did seem insistent. I suppose it couldn’t hurt to wade out a small bit…”