“I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie on the sea,
And when I’m far and far frae land, My home it is in Sule Skerrie.”
The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry
So I dared.
I slipped my seal-skin over my shoulders. Shrugged it on. I buttoned it up to my chin. Lifted its hood over my hair. I transformed. Never before had anyone else seen my true form. Never before had anyone glimpsed what lay beneath a skin that did not fit.
And I dared.
To hold my breath and …
… I …
…and deeper still…
And I dared to reveal to you what I was. What I really am. My truth.
And you? You did the same. No holds barred.
I plunged even deeper into the curling grey ocean of words we created. Black text on a white screen, nothing more. And yet, oh! Our words immersed and engulfed me. Conversations and stories – the hours, the weeks, the months we spent writing. The years! Many years worth of words that swelled and grew in depth. The words we typed becoming our newfound aquatic home. Full stops caught in our hair, commas darted around us like fish. Exclamation points tickled our flesh as they bubbled by. Letters grew like kelps. Sentences teemed with life and the soft tip-tap-tip-tap-tip-tap of fingers on a keyboard became the rhythmic sound of waves crashing upon the shores.
In this ocean, our sea of words, we danced through our own depths, twisting and turning in our lovers dance. Constructing a world together. A world we created with stories. Our own world. Stories we told with one another, to one another, about one another. Stories that created vivid memories of places and people that were of our own making. Fantasies that took their own shape and became as real as anything else to us. As stories tend to. And we let them. For when in the depths we put aside the skin that did not fit. We became what we truly wished to be. Slick-pelted and free! And in this ocean, in our sea of words, we found love. Cerebral. Marrow-deep. Mind, heart and soul!
Am I foolish to say so? Yes, perhaps it sounds that way. But I admit that my foolishness was dear to me. It still is. For it brought me to you.
Some may say that we fell in love with a fantasy. Some would say we fell in love with an idea. A reflection, perhaps or a projection. Others may think that we fell in love with the story itself. Swept away by the romance of it all. But love defies convention and it has no boundaries. So whether or not it was the romance or the fantasy that brought it, love came. And it grew fathoms deep. And it grew high and wide – a tsunami that engulfed us entirely! For it was not like finding a chest full of gold and jewels. It was not like finding a pearl hidden in the clasped jaw of an oyster. No, for this love was not hidden within the depths. It was the depths! We found love in the shapes of letters typed upon a screen. We found love in the spaces between each symbol, where other meanings secretly lay. We found love in the pauses. We found love in the miss-spellings. We found love in the laughter we both shared and neither heard.
We found love in the weaving of our own story.
We are lead to believe that magic is something mythical. That it can only be found between the covers of a book, as if it lays there sleeping. Dormant. As if it is passive and ready to awaken only when the book is opened. A sleeping beast like a great scaled dragon that curls upon a glimmering hoard of golden illusion. Magic, we are told, is something fictional. Something we dream about or wish for wistfully as we gaze out of a window and hope for a better life. Magic is something for children. It is childish and silly and we will grow out of such ridiculous notions as life’s troubles hit us again and again and again, battering us into normalcy. Shaping us brutally. Magic is a pretty lie.
And we believe that.
As if magic is not woven into our blood and bone. As if it doesn’t play upon every sinew in our bodies. We have turned our back upon magic. Banished it. With each new technical wonder that emerges, with each new scientific discovery we have slowly and stubbornly eradicated magic from our reality. We scoff at it. We scorn it as we evict it into children’s nurseries. We sweeten it, dusting it with an icing of niceness to mask our disdain for it. Our fear of it. Because magic is uncontrollable. We attempt to shape it and contain it ever-so-insipidly into stories that are palatable and easy to swallow. Stories that do not end in lace-fleshed seal-corpses laying bloated and lifeless upon the sands, for that is not a happy ever after. We want magic to be pliable and malleable so we can control it. And the magic that is more gritty, more dark and shadowy we have made villanous. Witches that stalk forests with poison apples. Wolves that skulk upon the edge of shadows, ready to gobble us up. Sirens that will sing us to our watery graves.
But magic will not be domiated or controlled. It refuses to be caged. It’s as wild as it is mysterious and it will not be held down. It will not be forgotten! It refuses to allow science nor technology to quash it and will use our modern ways to seep through. It was you, my love, that taught me this undeniable truth. You! You with your ready laughter and your quick-clever words and your deep and beautiful honesty. You with your wonder and your awe and your child-like joy. You with your fathoms-deep emotions that you revealed to me. Let me swim in. Joined me. You, my Selkie-husband.
You! You were the one who reminded me that magic is real and tangible and heart-rending. You! And so it was for you that I peeled off the form I had poured myself into for so many years. I slipped on my seal-pelt coat and transformed into my true form. My gods-given form. And I followed you there into our ocean of typed words until there was nothing but you and I and the world beneath our rolling waves. Flipper and whisker and snout. And magic. Such magic!
If only – oh! If only we could have lived the story-book way. But that was not to be. Longing and yearning gnawed at us both for many years to come. Aching and aching until my heart almost burst with it. For life is not a story book, you see. And love cannot always win out in the end.