He had spent a lot of time watching her- that girl with the bright eyes that would come every day to the water’s edge. She had long hair done up in a braid, always a braid, and the sweetest smile he had ever seen. Her eyes looked like the depths of the sea that he swam in, a bright, vibrant blue with hints of green in their depths. Her laugh was like music, and her voice just as melodious. She was beautiful, he decided, so beautiful that his chest ached whenever he looked at her and realized he would never be able to take her home.
She was not like him, not really, not enough to allow him the chance to get in closer, and so he was left to swim around the edges of her world and sigh his sorrows into the misty morning air because he could do no more than this: watch and wonder what life with her would be like.
She trained by the water, lived her life by its edge, and he could linger here longer than was necessary just to watch her live her life. He had first seen her when she was little, such a clumsy, cute girl that stumbled to the water’s edge and poked a toe in curiously before squealing at the cool temperature and pulling away quickly. He had watch her grow and mature, watched her develop her skill, watched her learn lessons and slowly begin to teach others herself.
He watched her twist and turn, barefoot on the beach, watched her move with the rhythm of the ocean as the waves lapped at the shore, move with the current of the water she could control, move so smoothly and easily as though there was nothing in the world but her and the water.
He wanted to know how she would look in the water, not just controlling it, not just safely standing, dry and content on the shore. He wanted to swim with her, to show her all the wonders he had seen, to share his world with her…
But he could not.
She could control the element that he dwelled in, but she could not enter it herself. She was not like him, not really, and thus this dream of his continued to be just that: a dream. He would dream of how she would react to the wonders he might show her, of how her eyes would light up at the sights she might see, at the praise her melodious voice could sing of when she spoke in astonishment over all the delights he could parade before her.
So on the edges of her world he dwelled, watching and waiting for a time when he would be allowed to slip in closer, to see her in her own realm, to invite her in deeper and ask if she would be willing to come with him, for just a little while… Not all beautiful things lurked down in the depths of his world… Some of them could be seen without peril to a girl like her.
Some of them he could bring to her; let her see while she stayed on the sand in safety. Some of them he could lead her to, let her learn of from the safety of the shore. Some of them… Some of them he could not bring to the surface, some of them he could not lead her to. Some of them were too precious to be brought up to the her world.
He cursed her legs even as he watched her walk on them, cursed her lungs even as she used them to draw breath, cursed her family even as they drew her in close, because they should know how to use the magic in these waters to change their form. They should have taught her how to shift in shape and join him among the waves. They should have let him play with her.
But they did not, because she was not like him, not really.