One Reply to “10.24.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. She loved the water. She always had. Even as a child and they’d had a pool out back and Merryl was always there, swimming like a fish and holding her breath till she was dizzy and till her nose bled, and not caring that it did. And her skin was always crinkled, the ends of her fingers and her toes, like she was wearing an outer skin that did not really fit.

    When she was a little older she could put into small words why it was that she loved the water. It had something to do with how the world sounded to her under the water and everything muffled and everything quiet and Merryl liked that. Above the water the sounds of every day hurt her ears – the noise of cars braking and thunder in the sky and sudden dogs barking or children screaming. But mostly it was the sound of her parents arguing that she hid from, their words all thrown and hard and stone.

    Under the water it was quiet and the sun on the blue and white tiles made everything gleam and Merryl thought it would be better if she were a fish, a sleek brown trout slipping through the underwater grass. They took to calling her Trout at school and she won medals in swimming competitions at first, but the sound of everyone clapping and cheering and calling her name in the heats was something she could not bear.

    And when she was older, she swam in the wide river and in the sea, and she’d look for deep dark pools and she’d lie on the ribbed sandy bottom and the quiet there was as complete a quiet as could be found. And she was happiest then. Happier than with Oliver, her husband of three years, and he was quiet most days, except he coughed sometimes, and when they were in bed he moaned, and his hot breath as he slept was a stifled bear growl.

    Merryl’s parents still argued, but they were far from her by now and she did not answer their phone calls, preferring the silence of their words when laid down in letters. And her nose no longer bled and she was not dizzy or faint. And men in grey suits paid good money to watch her swimming in a night club tank and her mermaid hair and her false fish-tail and her breasts uncovered for them all to see. And she could not hear the leering comments they made and so they were nothing to her.

    And one day there was a thickening of her waist and her breasts swelled up to twice their size and swimming inside her was a quick-dart fish of her own and she talked to her unborn child in gurgles and whispers and she made promises that all her words would be soft and liquid and not hard thrown stones.

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