A girl came from the sea, and people gave her shells and starfish and little bottles of sea water. They joked when she wore blue and suggested they all go to the pool.
But there are things people don’t consider when they think of the sea.
They don’t think of the overwhelming darkness on the floor.
If you were to spy on this girl in her room, you would see nothing unusual. She invested in some luminescent lipstick, and all you can see are two, three lips and a handful of children’s nightlights. It looks like those weird fish which live on the sea floor, the ones with two-hundred teeth and poisonous barbs.
When people think of the sea, they don’t think of the ice.
People give her weird looks when she goes out in winter in a vest and shorts, sporting that sun-starved skin and wrinkled fingers. She meets up with her friends, dressed in similar garb, and they waltz down to the beach arm in arm, sharing ice-cream between them. They laugh, and it sounds like burbling streams and crashing waves.
When people think of the sea, they don’t think of the food.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world down there, like any ecosystem untouched by man. The worms eat the smaller things, the fish eat those, and the bigger fish eat those and so on. The birds eat the fish, and the girls eat the birds when they can catch one. They eat whatever they can when they can catch it, apart from those stripy lionfish. They feed them to each another.
When people think of the sea, they don’t think of the girls who live there.
They don’t think of the bloody feuds over land, they don’t think of the salvaged metals wrapped with jellyfish. They don’t think of the caves filled with gems and gold and pieces of humanity collected over the years. They don’t think of those old stories told by those old sailors, the ones with the beautiful ladies singing sweet songs.
When people think of the girls from the sea, they think of the ones of the land.
They think of the girls they see, the one with glowing teeth and snow-soaked shorts and feathers stuck to lips. They think of miracles and scientific oddities and how much they look like their own daughter. They think of the photoshopped Vogue cover, the one where they made her cheeks fuller and her arms thinner and asked her if she preferred Liam Payne or Liam Hemsworth.
“Fried or boiled?” she asks, and they all laugh and put more shells in her hair.
When people think of the sea, they don’t think of the sea.
They don’t think of the girls with salt in their veins and iron in their stomachs and water in their minds. They’re girls of the land now, don’t be silly, look, they have legs and everything!
A girl came from the land, and people gave her rocks and necklaces and nets full of fish. They joked when they realised she was from the sea and suggested they all go to the pool.