I used to believe I was a mermaid, and that is why the sea had such an almighty grip on me. Why I had this unexplained need to be intimate with the water, tip-toeing around its shore and caressing its current. I revered the ocean to the point of fear. The sea was neither bad nor good, but rather omnipotent and unmerciful. I dared not awaken its anger, and even my earliest recollections involve the insistence of life jackets and wary wades.
Yet I have not grown fins. I have not begun breathing while submerged under the murky waters of my bathtub. Mermaid, I am not. But I cannot deny the allure of the ever beckoning salty air. The answer seems so frighteningly simple: I must be some backwards reincarnation of Annabel Lee.
Am I the only one? Are you Annabel Lee too? Do our hearts thump and thud so wildly inside our chest only because our secret souls are searching for our star-crossed other halves? Oh, I’ve often suspected the angels had qualms with me. My consistent ill luck could only be the work of some sinister cosmic intervention.
I am not very brave. If I was, I’d slip out in the quiet of the night and escape to a kingdom by the sea. I’d let the tempestuous storms whip my hair into a million tangles. I’d correspond with the ghosts of sailors and pirates. Watch your mouth in front of the lady, they would all grumble and scold at each other. I’d revel in their company to such an extent that I’d withdraw completely from the living brand of humans altogether. A nautical citadel full of souls drowned and drowning still.
I am an Annabel Lee, and you are an Annabel Lee, and so is every other girl who is equally in love with the sea and the schoolboy she never will meet.