Before Myla could say anything, Felipe rang the bell just above the doors. A moment later a light came on. Myla heard someone singing or humming or mumbling. Then both doors opened and a woman with bushy white hair stood with a hand on each door. She was dressed in a dark blue or purple nightdress. She looked at Myla.

“Well, hello, Sister Myla,” the woman said in Spanish. “We’ve been expecting you. Welcome home.”

The woman came toward Myla and put her hand on her back as a way of leading her forward.

“Thank you, Felipe,” the woman said.

Myla and the woman walked over the threshold. The woman turned back to close the doors, and then continued up the dark path. Myla heard the car drive away.

“I’m Sister Beatrice,” she said. “The others are asleep. I’ll show you to your room, and we can talk in the morning after you have a good night’s sleep.”

Myla had so many questions. She didn’t know where to begin.

“Do you have a telephone I can use?” Myla asked. “My--” She didn’t know what to call David, George, Lily, Juan, Maria, etc. “My friends might be worried about me.”

“Of course,” Sister Beatrice said.

They walked up onto a long porch. Myla had a sense that a courtyard was on her left, the house on her right. Sister Beatrice opened a door, and they walked into a large open room, with adobe walls with a viaga beamed ceiling. A low overhead light lit the couches and chairs that faced each other in a square. A half finished game of solitaire covered part of a large wooden coffee table in the middle of the square. To their left a ways was a huge rectangular wooden table with many wooden chairs around it. A runner with a colorful zig-zag pattern lay across it, looking like an artistic lightning strike. Behind it was a book case with a telephone on the top shelf. Beyond the table was darkness, and, Myla presumed, the kitchen.

“There’s the telephone,” Sister Beatrice said. “Let me show you your room. Then you can phone. It is long past my bedtime. I have to get my staying alive sleep.”

Myla followed the woman down a long corridor. They passed several doors, each a different color: red, blue, maroon, green. Sister Beatrice stopped at a New Mexican blue sky door. On it was a ceramic heartshaped tile. A mermaid held in her hands the letters “MA.” Her tail made the V of the heart.

“That’s your room, dear,” Sister Beatrice said. “I wasn’t sure if you’d remember. I’ll see you in the morning.”

The woman kissed her cheek. Then, humming, she went to the end of the hallway, her long nightdress flowing behind her, as though a wind was blowing it. She turned the corner and disappeared.

from Old Mermaid Sanctuary

1 comment:

kerrdelune said...

(Sigh), there can never be too many mermaid tales, and I love this one. Love and BB, Cate