I sat in my bathing suit on the damp sand. Cold, green, foam-edged fingers of brine beckoned me forward; I was ready for my final swim.
I’d known `The Change` was starting when I dried up everywhere. And I mean everywhere. My moods pitched and fell according to an inner tide. I sought solace in swimming, the ebb and flow of the moon-dragged waves cradled me in a salty embrace each day.
“It’s happening to us too,” said my friends. Margot complained of hot flushes leaving her drained and spent. Eliza had sobbing fits and threw plates at the wall. They grieved for their redundant wombs, but I wouldn’t miss the monthly purges.
Time passed in goodbyes – I waved Katie off to university, her room empty save for a torn poster, hanging by a scrap of blu tack. Martin left too, some months later, exchanging me for a younger model. I wasn’t bothered, the change would get her too in the end.
And so here I was on the beach, ready to say goodbye. I took a breath, plunged in – gooseflesh rippling up my body as I submerged.
Under the water my tail pulsed and shimmered, birthed from the murky human shape of my legs. My hair, uncut after all this time, floated in coils around my body. Below me, the others waited, flicking their tails, beckoning and pearlescent. They called to me, their voices pure and sweet, chiming like bells.
I swam down, deep down, into the never-ending blue, to join them.
Rebecca Williams has always wanted to be a writer. She completed the first draft of her novel – about bored housewives on a vigilante crime spree – in August 2017. She is killing time before second draft edits by dabbling in flash and shorter fiction. You can find her on Twitter stupidgirl45.
Image: Nsey Benajah