Let the Fisherman Name Her by Constance Ann Fitzgerald


She had failed and some kind of transformation was beginning to take place. Some change that started in the skin. It started pushing through separately, adjusting her pigmentation to match the salty water.

She had jumped off of a cliff — just like that. Closed her eyes and leapt into the ocean. She hoped to land on the jagged rocks below and fall apart completely. She had pictured it in her head on the drive over. She would just come apart like a crash test dummy. Eventually he ebb and flow of the ocean, the salt, and the sea dwelling beasts, would devour her and she would never be found.

Instead she broke her back, her left leg and was carried out to sea, unconscious and injured.

When she came to she was adrift and the water was calm. A mild undercurrent rocked her broken body gently and urged her back to sleep. She tried to empty her lungs and sink like a stone. Reject the air, the life, the act of living. She just couldn’t manage to sink. She felt pickled and prune-y.

Waterlogged and lost, unable to swim to shore due to her injuries, she couldn’t even see land, much less make a guess as to how far it would be. So she floated in the ocean, waiting to sink or be eaten.

She floated for days before it started.

At night the pure black of the sky would swallow her whole; and she thought to herself as the stars flickered on and off, “This must be what peace feels like. Maybe this is home.”

During the day the sun warmed her waterlogged body. The tepid waters dragged her further away from the shore. Further away from anything similar to “care,” “love,” “loss,” “longing,”

Yes. This was peace.

She could feel driftwood and seaweed collecting in her water- tangled hair and bits of kelp clung between her toes. She felt at home for the first time — alone in the ocean, covered in debris.

She saw her toes turn a shimmering teal and begin to web together. She thought she must be rotting away. As the days passed her skin shimmered more brightly and the green hues crept up her feet, legs and thighs. She was becoming one with the sea.

Her skin started to look cracked. Like it was ready to flake into the water and tangle and mingle with the seaweed in her hair.

Her legs fused. Her toes webbed together and her skin turned to scales the color of oil slicks. She rolled over, face down in the water, prepared to blink away the sting of the brine. But it didn’t phase her.

She dove down beneath the surface and found she didn’t need to breathe. She didn’t need anything at all. Just the peace of the ocean overhead.

____________________

Constance Ann Fitzgerald lives in the Bay Area where she works in an adult shop, collecting stories about creeps. She can often be found talking to dogs and scribbling in notebooks. Her first book, Trashland A Go-Go, is available now.

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