Life’s End

As I ran and ran, with the wind blowing in my hair and the sand sticking to my wet feet, I was thinking of all the people and fights that I was leaving behind. A comfortable life where I didn’t have to go to school, or be tutored at home, would all be thrown away. This was going to be a new start to my life, and I had no idea where I was going. All I knew was straight. I could smell the salt stinging my nose and the ocean stretching miles long. The waves crashed right next to my feet, sometimes soaking them in the sand. I looked back at the faint wedding. My dad hadn’t noticed that I left yet. As soon as I turned the bend, I stopped for a rest and took off my shoes. My feet were in so much pain. I ran almost a mile in high heel shoes. Never will I do that again. I threw my shoes in the ocean and kept on running.

When I got to the road, I called my friend who was sixteen and told her I needed a runaway car. She knew that I had planned to run away from one of my father’s weddings and told me she would be my car. I couldn’t bring myself to do it during the first seven, but the eighth? A year after my mother died, my dad remarried for the first time to someone he didn’t love. They divorced within a month. This happened six more times, but my father still hadn’t learned his lesson. My friend drove me to the airport, and we said goodbye for a long time.

The airplane was cold, and I was barefoot in a wet and sand-covered, ripped flower girl’s dress. The people on the plane probably thought I was crazy. I looked out the window. The idea that kept coming into my mind was, how am I going to make a livelihood? I had no profession or special talents, and I was only twelve. I pushed my problems to the back of my head and tried to fall asleep.

When I woke up, the flight attendant was saying that we might be coming in for a rough sea landing. I freaked out. I shouted and screamed. The flight attendant came running towards me and over my screams I could hear another flight attendant call on the loud speaker for a doctor. A woman in her mid-twenties slid into the seat next to me. The person who once sat there had slid out of the seat when the doctor came. The doctor tried to calm me down by telling me her name, and a little bit about herself, but I didn’t register that information. The only thing going through my mind at the moment was a picture of me drowning in the ocean.

The doctor repeated her name again, and this time, it registered. Her name was Catherine. A beautiful name. She really knew what she was doing. I could tell because it worked. I stopped screaming and looked up just in time to see the flight attendant leading the lady who was once sitting next to me into Catherine’s old seat. The lady kept looking back at me, and as I looked around the plane, I thought to myself, Oh my, of course everyone would be looking at me. I had had a panic attack.

The same flight attendant that had called for the doctor told everyone over the loudspeaker to get in position for a crash. I opened my mouth to scream as I spotted a girl about three years old who was in position. She didn’t look scared, just calm. At that moment, I realized how stupid being scared of a crash in 2017 was, when no one else was. Everyone was calm, and I just had a panic attack. I got in position, and the doctor rubbed my back and told me to stay calm. Over the loud speaker, I heard a count down.

“Ten, nine, eight — ”

I hugged the doctor, and she hugged me back.

“Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.”

I closed my eyes waiting for the impact but none came.

The flight attendant told everyone to stay in position and that the countdown was a bit early. She started another. At around four, the crash came and the impact was harder than anyone could have expected. My head hit the seat in front of me, crushing the doctor’s hand who was protecting my head. Her fingers were bleeding and so was my head. Many other people on the plane had injuries, and they were all very serious.

Water was now to the top of the plane, and no one could breathe. Everyone stayed in their seat for another minute. By that time, we should have been straining for breath and turning blue, but we all seemed to be able to breathe. Was this a miracle, or the after life? The water was as clear as air and it felt like we were breathing air.

The flight attendant called over the loudspeaker. That still worked too. “I will go out of the plane and explore, does anyone want to come?”

Nobody did so she went alone. About thirty seconds later, we heard a muffled scream through the water. The pilot went out to check on the flight attendant, and when he popped his head back into the plane, he told everyone to take their luggage and file out. I had no luggage, but I saw that it wasn’t easy to swim with soaked luggage. When we got outside the plane, there were an escort of sharks, all different kinds, waiting for us. They looked scary and imposing, but the leader was talking in a friendly way to the pilot like they were old friends. Nobody seemed to think that this was odd. They all just went with the flow.

All of the people who could were trying to pop open the bottom of the plane to get all of their checked bags. I had a feeling we were going to need them.

The sharks took us to an underwater city that was lit up, like in the movies. They took us around the back of the city, like they didn’t want us be seen. We went through a tunnel to the back of a shop. It smelled like seaweed. The water was thinner and cleaner around the city. It was also more easy to breathe in. It looked more bluish, and we couldn’t hear the waves as much.

A woman with a tail entered the shop from the front. The sharks dived down and so did the rest of the passengers from the plane. The woman was dressed in a sky blue tail with jewels hung around, like lights on a Christmas tree. She had on a blue bikini top, which was the same color as the tail. Her hair hung behind her. It was long, brown, and straight. She swam up to the cashier’s desk.  The woman demanded a fancy tail for the mer-prom. The mermaid behind the cashier’s desk swam to a rack of bejeweled tails. There were rainbow ones, plain ones, and ones in all different combinations of colors. When the mermaid finished paying for the tail cover, we came out of our hiding spot. The cashier took out what looked like a phone and called two mer-people.

Around fifteen minutes later, two mermaids entered the shop and the sharks didn’t dive down, so neither did we. One of the mermaids had blonde hair. It was wavy and it had a pink streak in it. Her tail was the same color as the pink in her hair. The other mermaid looked just like my mom. It couldn’t be, I told myself. Her hair was jet black and her tail looked like it wasn’t connected to her.

My mother had died in a plane crash, so it was impossible for it to be her. They locked the door behind them and put the “Closed” sign out. I got scared. Were they going to hurt us? Was this a trap? While they were doing this, they looked scared, like they were worried they were going to be caught in the middle. They looked around.

“Hello guys! My name is Molly and I died in a plane crash just like you!” the girl, who looked liked my mom, said.

When she spotted me, her mouth dropped wide, and her eyes blew up to the size of tennis balls. She swam towards me and gave me an embracing hug. At that moment, I couldn’t think of anything except for what was going on that second. The last few hours of my life flashed right in front of my eyes. I saw myself running away from the wedding, the plane crash, and the sharks. I couldn’t believe that I was hugging my mom. This never happens, I think?

We stood in that hug for what felt like hours, with everyone else looking at us, but those hours were spent well. I could tell my mom was happy that I was with her, and that the after life wasn’t how we used to imagine it.

When the hug was over, my mom introduced me to every one of her friends. They told me they had heard a lot about me. My mom told everyone, including me, about the mer-people. They hate humans, and every time there is a plane crash in these waters, the sharks come and save them. Then, they bring them here and put fake tails on them so they can fit in. The only rule in this world is that no one is allowed to go to the surface, and if a human is near, hide. If Mom and I go up to the surface and find Dad, this could be my only chance to ever get them reunited. I needed to tell Mom.

“Now I would like an update of what is going on in the human world,” my mom said.

Other people told her about what was on the news and everything, but I told her about Dad and his marriages. She was furious and kept mumbling to herself. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but it wasn’t something nice.

We put fake tails on and dyed parts of our hair. I looked so different and I liked it. Mom and I went back to her house, and we talked and caught up. I told her everything about running away and she told me we would have to go notify Dad to tell him I was okay. I agreed, but asked her how we would if we were not allowed to the surface, and she said it would be alright. We just needed to take our tails off. Just then, a huge and loud bugle rang.

My mom rushed me out and into the crowds of mer-people. A big jeweled carriage arrived.  My mom told me it was the queen and we had to do what everyone else did. She told me the queen was vain and selfish. She always has a wig on and wears so much mer-makeup. I had heard about queens like this in stories, and they scared me. Now, I was witnessing it for real.

“Honey, tighten your tail quick. If the queen sees it loose, you’re dead and so am I.”

The queen looked around and all the mer-people seemed so uptight and scared just like in stories.

When the ceremony was over, Mom and I went back to her house and got ready to go up to the surface. We pretended to go shopping in the tail store but really went through the tunnel that I came through. We swam as fast as our tails would let us. When we got to the surface and stuck our heads out of the water, we couldn’t breathe. Our mouths or noses wouldn’t take the air in. My mother led me away from the surface and she showed me to a dark cave. We entered and my mother had a nervous look on her face. When Something moved in the back of the cave, my mother squeezed my hand and I realized that she wasn’t an expert at this like I thought she was at everything. Have you ever felt like someone knew everything, and was always a leader to you, but then one action that that person does changes everything? It was, all of a sudden, and I was scared.

A weird looking mermaid came out from the shadows. He looked ghostly and faint. There were no vibrant colors in him. He seemed mean and when he talked, he did so in a strict manner. His tail was black and plain. My mother spoke quietly when she said,

“We were hoping you would help us and make us human again.”

The guy teased us for a bit and kept tricking us by being nice, and when we said “Really?” he would shout “No!”

But finally, he agreed. When he did, he said we would have to pay a price. We asked what that was, and he said we needed to work for him for five days. The next couple of days were torture. He made us work so hard. When his friends came over to his cave on the fifth day, he had more help with demanding things for us to do, and my mother kept reminding me that it was the last day.

I kept reminding myself that this may be my only chance to get my parents reunited. It used to just be one or the other, and this may be my only chance. The next day we went and told the man that it had been five days, and he said he would make us human again. He said okay in a sad tone and looked at us with a soul-piercing stare. The next second, I couldn’t breathe and neither could my mom. We swam as fast as we could and the last thing I knew, I blacked out.

When I came to, I was on the sand and my mom was on top of me with a worried look on on her face. She hugged me when she saw my eyes open and started to cry. I shook her off, but her crying didn’t stop.

“Mom, let’s go,” I said, but she didn’t move.

All she did was sit in a shaking puddle.

“Mom, come on,” I said, kind of in an annoyed voice.

She wouldn’t move, so I sat down next to her and embraced her in a tight, loving hug. Her shaking stopped, and her crying did, too. We let go of the hug slowly and I looked straight into her eyes. Then I whispered, “It’s okay, I’m alright. Now let’s move on.”

She nodded her head slowly, sniffled, and got up. I held her hand, and we walked to the end of the beach.

We were already in the Caribbean since the plane crashed less than halfway through the plane ride. We drove to Dad’s house just in time to see him in his first fight with his new wife. Mom sighed when she saw this.

“Just like you said,” she told me.

“I know,” I muttered.

She parked the car and got out. When we knocked on the door, my dad fainted. I guess he knew I was on the plane ride that crashed. When he came to, the questions were too overwhelming so we told him to quiet down so we could tell him our story. Then he could ask questions. He agreed and it took about an hour to finish our story and questions.

Mom, Dad, and I sat down with each of our books and read for the rest of the day. By five o’clock, I finished my book. That is one of the most comforting things to me. My dad and mom hadn’t finished their books. I told them I was going to find Kayla. Kayla is my best friend and I’ve known her since I was in preschool. My dad told me that he had told her that I was dead, so she might faint.

I ran to her house which was only down the block. When I got to her house, she didn’t faint. So I told her what happened. We had a great time together. When I got back for dinner, my dad’s new wife was over, and I guess he told her that he wanted a divorce. She didn’t take it well, but I didn’t care. My dad had a cut on his forehead. It was deep from where the ring hit him when the eighth wife stormed out of the house. My mom fixed up his cut and put a bandaid on it when she was done. My dad went down on one knee and took the ring off my mom, then put it back on her and asked if she would marry him. She said of course, and they kissed on the lips.

We decided not to have the wedding by the beach because now, that is my biggest fear. I went with my mom to get the dress and with my dad to get the suit. I helped them plan the wedding, and the process was very fun.

On the wedding day, I couldn’t stop crying. This was the only thing I had been hoping for my whole life. When my parents kissed, I had a flashback of when I was younger. It was when my dad took me for the first time to Coney Island. That was my fifth birthday present. He had gotten out of his third marriage just a week before. We had so much fun, and we went on most of the rides that I could go on three or four times. He threw up because I kept making him go on the curvy rides. Then I thought about my fondest memory of my mom but none came. When they opened up from their kiss, they pulled me in with them.

This was the best feeling ever. There was nothing else to say about that.


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