Monday, 19 May 2014

The mermaid who feared the sea

[Translated from the original spanish version by Sara Estima. Thank you Sara!!]

Her name means “Queen”, but I only knew that later. Here I will call her Mami Wata. When I first met her I could only see a young woman of great beauty and kindness who helped me to find a restaurant.

A few days later she was sitting between my legs, with her back on my chest, admiring the waves and the city created by the distant ship lights. We were sitting on the beach, in that enchanted border between the light that comes from the street and the darkness of the sea. I could not help but laugh at her confessing that she was afraid of the sea.

And, suddenly, I heard her scream. And I felt myself crushed under an enormous weight, immobilizing my arms and gripping my neck. Another one took the girl into the darkness. I could not breathe, but I loaded myself with my assailant, kicking backwards as if I were a wounded ox, carving a groove on the sand, till I reached the place where the other one was laying over Mami Wata, who resisted fiercely.

I felt my aggressor’s fear when I managed to free myself a little and launch my wallet to the one holding Mami Wata, as a piece of meat thrown to a wild beast. As such, he raised his snout and after hesitating on what prey to choose, he freed the girl and grabbed my wallet.

The one who had attacked me, realising that I did not want to fight, dared to speak for the first time. I'm going to kill you – he growled. I turned around and looked at him straight into his eyes. He did not say anything else.

People started to show up so they frisked me and ran away. After having resisted bravely, all the fear and anger came out and Mami Wata was shaking from head to toe as the sacred Baobab leaves do after the rituals. She could not walk, like the mermaids after making the effort to come out from the sea into the land where everything is heavy. And she cried. She cried while a woman who had also been attacked the day before helped us getting to the hotel “because otherwise, the police would come and make it worse. They also want money.” She cried while she climbed up the stairs and kept on crying although she relaxed a little bit when we laid her down on the bed.

Calm down, it is all over - I told her while she cried for both of us, in order to clean ourselves from all the hatred and human bestiality. The main point is that they have not touched you and we are alive and only our necks hurt a little.

The fresh shower gives her back the control of her beautiful skin, shiny as if she still had scales but soft as she had just been born from my arms. And her words start to come out.

If I open my eyes I see him pouncing on me again – she whispered -. That´s normal, it´s the shock - I sayed -, but that will also go away. Look into my eyes...

They made a bad choice – I think while I take her her in my arms. They took my money (the worst of Europe) but I'll keep the best of Africa. They took her snake bites and her screams with them, but this beautiful mermaid, whom they could not even recognize, offers me her kisses and caresses.

I remember that when we met she explained me that she was studying sociology to help developing her country, specially saving the street children that are raised in the law of the strongest. She showed me the wounds of her city, their places of prostitution and crime. And she worked to avoid depending on a man or accepting the polygamy that had caused her mother’s suffering.

I remember the stories of her grandfather about the white people that came to take the mermaids away using mirrors’ traps, or the dream of her philosophy professor of being loved by a mermaid at least once in his entire live, as told in the mesmerised villagers’ stories…

- I will not leave until I see your smile - I said, dramatically putting my newly arranged glasses on. And magic was made.

Mami Wata boosts her bronze statue-like body and dresses carefully. Africa wins. One of its best women will continue to fight day after day to heal the wounds of her city, that now are hers. Africa wins because Mami Wata, the goddess of the waters, the Queen of mermaids, has faced her worst fears, has gotten up again and will go on¸ changing her world with her feet on the ground.

And I win. Because no one can ever steal from you the love of a mermaid...

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