To Catch A Mermaid – Chapter Twenty

CHAPTER 20
The Thanksgiving

Nerissa and I had been dozing for several hours curled on the couch with soft music when there was a sudden knock on the door. It was only 3pm and too early for my brother to drop off Thanksgiving leftovers. The storm was still blowing a lot but the snow had stopped. I tell Nerissa quietly to stay on the bed and I will go to the door. Standing outside is my neighbor Bobby Fritz. Bobby was a good friend and we had become real close during my inhabiting the back apartment. We partied with the downtown ladies, had happy hours in the courtyard, smoked a lot of herb and in general, just had innocent fun, committing innocent crimes. Bobby steps inside as the NW wind was now pelting the back side of the flat. He has a joint but I am not about to do that at this point. I simply tell him I have company I met last night still here and we are napping. He understands and heads down the stairs… all the more for him, he says smiling.

When I return, Nerissa is looking through a book of photo’s from the Perfect Storm of 2 years earlier. She is wide-eyed and amazed at the waves… she even points out the window towards Front Beach and the Sea Scout Hall where several of my big wave pictures were taken. Smart girl.

I slice up and mash an avacado, mix in some red chopped onion and bring it in with a couple beers and tortilla chips. We snack on these listening to Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection. Suddenly the power goes out. Nerissa lunges for me at the sudden lights out and music stopping. After reassuring her, I give her one on my clean sweatshirt hoodies, some socks and my other hiking boots. We get dressed and I decide to take her for a ride figuring out the power won’t be long.

We descend the stairs slowly as she is either tentative of the height of the 2 stories or just the stairs themselves. Bobby see’s me out the window and smiles braodly as he gives me a thumbs up. Nerissa clutches my hand tightly behind me and we reach the street. We cross over the now well-plowed road and get to my Talon. As it was protected by the Inn, there is minimal snow on it and a quick brush is all it needs as she holds snow in her hand smelling and tasting it. I open the passenger door but she is hesitant. I leave the door open and go around to my door and get in. She follows suit but I need to go back around and close the door. As soon as I put on music, she is smiling again. This time it’s Pearl Jam’s “Don’t Call Me Daughter”.

We do a simple loop over to Granite Pier, downtown to Bearskin Neck and then home. She enjoys the entire trip immensely with her nose close to the window and gazing at people and cars moving around. After we park, we are coming out of the Inn lot when the town ambulance flies by with the siren on and Nerissa crumbles down covering her ears and shaking. I lift her to her feet and suddenly confirming that she does indeed have extraordinary hearing. My brothers car is parked at my gate with the flashers on….

We ascend the stairs and my brother Mike is at the door with leftovers. I greet him from below and we start climbing up the stairs. My mind is racing on what to say and how to introduce Nerissa. My brother is always a very nice and proper gentleman  who used to live above me when I lived in back in the court yard. He was getting married next summer and I was to be his best man. We had a likeness for the same music and Bruins hockey and always got along.

As I held Nerissa’s hand behind me and we climbed the stairs, I saw Mike smile and knew it would be ok even if I bared the entire story, but I wasn’t about to, not just yet. My concern was how Nerissa would react. After all she looked 20 and I was 37, which got me wondering a whole new slew of parameters. How old was she? Again I revisit the fact she doesn’t even have an ID, a SS number, a job, a family, nothing.

We greeted Mike on the landing and I offered that we go in and get out of the wind. Once inside, Nerissa slid by me and Mike to go into the bathroom. The power was back on. I told Mike in the living room that she needed a place to stay last night and I helped her out. I also said she doesn’t speak very good English and is very shy. Both very true. Then I blurted out “She’s a mermaid”, to which Mike laughed his usual hearty laugh and said, “Right. Whatever… now I know why you missed dinner, good choice”.

I was going to try and convince him but thought that if people look at her as a normal woman then I don’t have to explain anything. Nerissa then came out of the bathroom smiling, supposedly that she had conquered another round using the toilet. Mike held out his hand and she gently shook it. Well, actually, more or less simply held it. She meekly smiled, dropped his hand and went to sit near the big window and stare. I walked Mike to the door and bid him adieu then thanked him for dropping off the food.

I then lit several candles and opened a bottle of Blackstone red wine. Nerissa stared at the nice glass in her hand as if to wonder where the beer cans went. But after I showed her the slow minor sip required, she smacked her lips as the taste emerged and she had this amazing smile. I then prepared us plates of the left over food. Turkey, stuffing, squash, mashed, green beans and a Dunkin Donuts coffee cup with gravy to reheat. Plenty for two. I put on my only Tciakovsky CD and we ate in silence, in bliss, in warmth and in harmony.

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