Variation on a Love Story
Striding toward his wife, a beautiful Irish-looking woman, through the salt mist of the shore, the husband decides to confess that he is not, as she believes him to be, a high school economics teacher, but rather a world-renowned classical guitarist. “Instead of driving to school,” he tells her, “I drive to a little clearing of basket-flowers, deep in the forest, where a handful of foreign diplomats and their bodyguards will gather to hear me play. See?” he says, showing her the long, manicured nails of his right hand. “Oh, geez,” says the wife, shutting her eyes. The classical guitarist hangs his head; then he looks up to find his wife disappearing into the mist hovering over the ocean. No, she can’t swim! Darting toward her through the mist, as through a confusion of wet, gray sheets, he chances upon her lying naked in the shallows: her red hair draped over her breasts, her legs metamorphosed into the long, curved, aquamarine tail of a fish. “No, it can’t be, this is impossible,” he says, stepping backward. “How would you know?” says the mermaid. “I’m a marine biologist,” says the husband.
Mrs Wilson drove to the store for aspirin and was gone for thirty years. When she returned, kicking open their bedroom door, looking even younger and more stunning than he remembered, except for her knotted dreadlocks and mud-splattered pirate’s clothes, Mr Wilson forgot all about his aches and pains, which had advanced significantly over the years, and hopped out of bed in the dusty afternoon lamplight, flinging out his arms. “Not so fast, tiger,” said Mrs Wilson. “I just forgot my purse.”