I have to tell you about my sailing adventure. The year I started studying Modern Languages in college, worried about never achieving financial stability, I never imagined that I would celebrate my graduation sailing the seas. It was a crazy thought. All my classmates were hoping to maybe get a tiny apartment and a job at a library; that was the dream. But I was part of a fortunate group of people. No, I didn’t suddenly become a millionaire. But after a few years of friendship, I along with two other friends discovered that one of our friends, the shy girl that struggled through all her classes but graduated with actually impressive grades, she was the granddaughter of a wealthy man. He was a millionaire, if not already a billionaire, I think. But he was nice, an amiable, stereotypical old man.
We all met him on the day of our graduation when he showed up with two bodyguards and maybe a few more moving slyly around the campus. Apparently, we had passed some sort of “Real Friendship Test.” Our friend, Tammy, was embarrassed. But when the old man offered us a weekend in deep sea sailing on his boat… How could have said no? To be fair, we really, genuinely loved Tammy. All of us had been friends for almost all of college. These are the friendships that counted. If you keep a friendship through college you know, it’s for real, because during that time you can see people at their worst, desperate and ugly. It’s so unlike the fairy-tale friendships of high school that rarely survive the summer after graduation.
Finally, the glorious weekend arrived and into the boat went Mr. Clark the millionaire and his friend Bobby, probably a millionaire as well. Followed by Tammy, shy but happy. Charlie holding hands with Rosie, they started dating a whole year ago and luckily for the precious balance of our group, they were the perfect couple.
Lastly, Alex and I jumped in, and we were all ready. The excitement was palpable. Although we attempted to act serious and graceful in front of the rich old guys. But when the wind really hits, when the splashing of the waves started to hit our faces and the sun was shining just right… It was impossible not to scream in absolute joy loudly.
We are immediately a mess. We were exactly how you would imagine a group of broke college students – recently graduates – suddenly thrown into a luxurious boat. We treated that man as if he was our fairy godfather. Inside the boat was everything we could have possibly needed, enough water and all kinds of drinks, enough food, and even chocolate, comfy enough bunk beds for all of us and a strange little bathroom. I can’t deny it, with those high flags waving and moving us forward to what seemed like the end of the world, we all felt like kings. It was beautiful, all through the first day and night. That is until the second day was coming to an end. Out of the blue, literally the blue of the ocean, we caught sight of an island – which didn’t appear in our map.
“Well, it’s kind of an old map…”
“Not that old, Christopher Columbus. That island has no business being there.”
We listened to our captains discuss the mystery, Bobby was thinking about turning around and trying another route. Mr. Clark wondered if we should ask any authorities over the radio.
“But that would ruin the adventure!”
When the cute voice of Tammy broke through all other noise, we all just knew, we were going to follow the adventure. No one could have said no to her with that adorable smile and the wonder that shone in her eyes.
So we continued with our route as if an entire island wasn’t blocking our path. It was obviously suspicious. A few of us very seriously suggested it was a terrible idea… but the place just looked so beautiful. The piece of land was a smile and full of trees, there was a hill and even at a distance was visible a waterfall and a small river that joined the sea right where we were headed. Just as the sun started to fall we slowed down and neared the island, a few big rocks started to come up, a sign that we weren’t going to make it very far on the boat and that in the end we really would have to turn around. But then it happened. The golden light of the sun was hitting the rocks at the perfect angle, something started to shine, and then we noticed a pair of eyes.
All of us were surprised, most of us screamed, and the noise made the strange head duck away from us, hiding behind the rock.
“What was that?!”
“In the mysterious deserted island in the middle of nowhere?!”
The discussion took us nowhere until another pair of eyes showed up; an entire head rose from the surface of the water and took our breath away. We stood still for a minute until more heads started to appear. Also, we caught sight of several tails that were out of proportion of a regular fish, and those strange people surely wouldn’t be so tranquil swimming with sharks. Unless the tails belonged to them…
“Is that a mermaid?” asked Tammy.
“No,” I answered, sounded so sure of myself that it was apparent I didn’t mean it.
“They’re so beautiful,” all of us said in unison. It was true, these creatures, mysterious tourists in the middle of nowhere or mythological creatures, they were spectacular. I felt my heart swell in my chest. Until the spell was broken by Mr. Clark.
“There’s something wrong” he whispered. We looked at him and then in the direction he pointed.
“Are those… teeth?” his friend Bobby answered him.
Effectively, the unexplainable mermaids were starting to smile. Their faces turned devilish and the most terrifying thing I could have imagined. We screamed at the top of our lungs and did everything in our power to will the boat to go back. In the way back home we swore to never talk about it again.