Kiss & Tell: Sliding into a new skin

The Selkie




I conjured him. On the night of the high tide, I donned my robes and walked down to the shoreline of the ocean, digging my stilettos into the sand. I nodded to the moon, my friend and my foe, who moved the water inside my body and my soul. I could feel those internal waves crashing on the shores of my eroded heart. It was not hard to shed the prescribed seven tears into the sea.

They say we Scots are swayed by romance and legends, preferring mysteries to realities, and why wouldn’t we? Experiments which are repeatable bore me.

I spread out my robes in the sand. I brought tequila, so I was prepared to wait.

I am not afraid to break a mirror, have a black cat cross my path, or be third on a match. We create our own luck, good or bad. I will risk taking fate into my own hands, though I will hold it quite gently.

I closed my eyes and covered my ears, listening through my inner knowing, a place centered in my solar plexus. The gulls were silent. Watching. Waiting. Just happy to be away from the ambulance sirens. The waves even tiptoed to the shore.

I saw movement, a sleek gray skin reflected in the moon light. Then the whiskers, I would recognize them anywhere. His two orbital dark eyes looked at me as he slid out of the water, scooting rather ignominiously on his belly, his flippers pulling his dappled body to where I sat. “I know you,” he said. “Yes,” I replied.

I watched incredulously as he sensuously slid out of his animal coat and emerged standing in flesh and blood as a man. He looked down at his discarded seal skin for a minute with concern.

“I am not the type who would lock it in a chest and hide the key,” I said. “I’ve never tricked a man to stay.” And with his slightly webbed fingers, he brushed my hair behind my ear and said, “You wouldn’t have to.”

Celtic myth has it that the shape-shifting selkies are the most irresistible, having lured many young maidens and old wives. I was neither and had no intention to resist.

He lay beside me and asked the stories of a small scar here, a tattoo there, and mostly the invisible scars only he could see on my soul. He could not change them, as scar tissue is actually stronger than skin, but he could see the strength of character which developed as their result. We are so rarely seen, truly seen without judgment. An aphrodisiac. Intertwined energy.

I did not want the night to end. I did not want him to leave. I wanted only to bring him into my world.

“But my love,” he said, “This is not the time to be of the Earth realm. She is sick and trying to heal.” He gently held me and kissed my forehead. The moon slid behind a cloud so I only could see his dim outline as he walked back to put on his seal skin. A flick of tail as he submerged back into the waves.

It was only as I was putting back on my robes that I saw it there, lying by the shore. Another silky seal skin. Waiting for me.

I thought about what I might be leaving behind on land and without a moment’s hesitation or without throwing salt over my shoulder, I slid into it, admiring my sleek and dappled skin. I headed into the sea and into my future.

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