Friday, March 23, 2012

Where the Mermaids Never Sing

the tour bus passes but does not stop at the village where the hidden people live. this saddens the woman, who would like to see the hidden people. the tour guide laughs and tells her you never see them because they're hidden.  everyone laughs politely at the little joke so the tour guide continues. 'people--the real ones, that is--say the hidden people --called  huldufolk--live in volcanic rocks and are never seen by the human eye.' the woman also laughs politely but she doesn't feel amused or amiable, and she says to the invisible child, he's a jerk. they're all jerks. but she says it invisibly so they don't know she's speaking. she hopes the huldufolk can hear her, and she likes the humans who respect them.  if she ever comes back she will go alone and find the hidden people.

wouldn't you like to meet them? she asks the invisible child.  i mean, aren't you sort of like them?

the invisible child responds coldly. they live in  rocks, she says.  do i look like i live in a rock? and will not speak to her friend the woman until the bus stops for photographs and everyone runs up the hill to run down the hill to take pictures of a giant waterfall.

the woman does not want to run up the hill or take photographs. she gets out of the bus anyway, to stretch her legs and watch the mountains, snowgrown for winter.  the invisible child runs toward the nearby gorge, away from the camera people, and she swings across it from icicle to icicle.  i could be a waterfall, she tells the woman.  i could be bigger than that one, or smaller than the icicle.  and hands the icicle to the woman. it melts on the woman's hand.  the woman knows she could never be a waterfall or an icicle. or one of the hidden people.  she will never come back; she will never meet the hidden people.  the melted icicle trickles into her heart and leaves its coldness there. the bus is ready to leave.


Jim said...

You may never be back, but the hidden people will find you.

karen lindsey said...

jim, that is so sweet! thank you!