Mermaids in Our Midst: The Diary of a Mother’s Mythical Delusions

When Tat’s mother found out she was pregnant she was in a mental institution for depression and suffered from schizophrenic hallucinations. She truly believed she was a mermaid. Every day she’d take long baths and multiple showers. Beside her bed she kept a diary documenting her delusion of being Neptune’s concubine and was having his heir.

One afternoon Tat’s mother decided she would take an unauthorized day trip to the ocean. She told another patient she needed to see her baby’s father. Taking a soiled doctor’s jacket from a dirty linen basket she slipped out of her room making her way to the stairwell. Half way down the hall was the laundry area. For a moment she watched the large industrial sized washer go round and round. The suds remind her of the ocean surf where she had conceived her child with Neptune. A hospital employee pushing a large laundry basket entered the room. She had just enough time to duck into a basket burying her below the mountain of dirty towels. The towels smelled of sweat and urine. It started moving up a ramp onto something with a motor running. It was the bio-hazard truck making its daily pick up of the soiled linens the hospital needed to destroy.

Over an hour passed. She could tell because the driver had the radio on so loud she hear the new reporter giving the time and weather. She stayed under the towels until the truck came to a stop. She noticed the sound of waves. Could it be? Am I near my beloved sea of love? Did I make it to the ocean? The truck had stopped at a local Fish Taco stand near the beach. It was the perfect opportunity for her to make her escape. She climbed out, walked directly to the beach taking off her hospital slippers to allow what she believed was her beautiful mermaid’s tail to emerge. At the water’s edge she sat down enjoying the surf flow over her body. She whispered, “Come with me my love, to the sea the sea of love. I want to tell you how much I love you.”Squinting to see if she could spot her lover Neptune her water broke. The pain was like nothing she’d ever experienced before. Amniotic fluid and blood mingled in the surf. “Maybe the pain will ease if I go further out into the water.” She made her way in, first ankle, to knee then hip deep. The undertow pulled her further and further away from the shoreline. She thought, “Oh my love, I can feel your arms embracing me, holding me.” Passersby noticed the woman flailing in the surf. A young man blew his whistle waving his arms for the women to come back to the beach. A minute later she went under the waves. A lifeguard swam out to search the area where she went down. Others launched the rescue boats with their lifesaving gear on board. Twenty feet away the lifeguard saw something floating and squealing. He swam over to see a newborn baby. He also noticed that it has something around its neck. It was a tag that read “Tide and Time stop for no one. Take care of this child born from the sea. Love, Mermaids.” The lifeguards nicknamed him TAT as in Tide and Time. It was documented on his birth certificate along with his mother’s name. Father – Unknown.

That was 35-years ago. As a grown man I can not explain how I survived my oceanic birth nor can I conceive being the human son of Neptune and a very disturbed mother. Nonetheless, every year on my birthday I journey to the ocean, stare into the surf hoping to find my mother and mythical father joined together in love and death. Hoping to catch a brief glimpse of who I am and how I came to be. The last words my mother wrote in her diary were, “Time and tide stop for no one.”  Strangely they were her untimely epitaph.

Noteworthy: Sea of Love” is a song written by John Phillip Baptiste (aka Phil ) and George Khoury. Phillips’ 1959 recording of the song peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart

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