He stood on the shore, scanning the rolling waves and hoping to catch sight of her, even as he began to unravel. With both hands gripping the sides of his head, a tortured scream was wrenched from deep in his gut, echoing from sea to sky and back to him.
“No! No! No! No! Noooooooo! This isn’t happening! What the fuck is happening to me? Fucking hell!”
With his knees giving way Jake slid limply to the ground having no clue where to turn now. Night descended while he sat, butt in the cool sand, reviewing the day and trying to determine exactly where he’d slipping off the beam.
Okay, He thought determinedly, so layoffs are more traumatic than I’d realized. So what? I’ll find another job. A better job! Yea! And make more money than I do now! It’s a momentary mental break, just a minor, little psychotic, He winced at the word, break. He continued coaching himself. That’s all. My mind just created a powerful diversion; an escape, of sorts. What man can resist a siren? Yea, it’s a delusion, that’s all. I’m okay now. I’m fine.
But Jake was acutely aware that he wasn’t fine.
Mermaid, he snickered at himself. You’ve read too many tales of man versus sea, old boy!
He effectively talked himself down from the proverbial ledge when his thoughts turned to Katherine. She never failed to warm his heart and he took immense comfort in her nurturance. Jake had chosen his first wife wisely and longed to go to her now.
He could almost feel his head in her lap while she ran delicate fingers through his hair, whispering, “Shhh quiet your mind, love. Don’t think any more tonight. Close your eyes and I’ll sooth you to sleep.”
He rested elbows on knees still gripping his head, as though it may explode, thinking, I can’t let her see me like this. For crying out loud, get it together man! You have real responsibilities to handle!
Then Myra’s face came to mind. She was such a joy to be with and a smile never failed to kiss his lips at the thought of her. She was the woman he shared his dreams and ambitions with, the wife who seemed to think he could do no wrong. Myra always looked at him reflecting all that he wished to see in himself. Nothing was too silly or far-fetched. No topic was off limits. He imagined the amusement in her eyes if she could see him now, knowing that regardless, he may never speak of this day to anyone.
Jake released his head and stood to swipe the sand from his rumpled clothing and all traces of delusion from his face. He ran his hands over jeans and tan skin ensuring that he was entirely put together. Pausing for a brief moment, he looked out at the constantly rolling waves, whispering to himself, “I’m okay. I’m a lucky man. If the price of having too much love is a momentary lapse, I’ll count myself very lucky indeed,” He comforted himself.
Jake turned homeward feeling as though he were trudging through wet cement, but forced his feet to turn back saying , “Goodbye, my beautiful Sirena. Perhaps we will meet again someday.”
Sirena floated silently in the ocean, hidden in breakers with tears in her eyes, watching him disappear into the night.