She had listened with rapt attention to her father’s stories, as they sat by the fire on dark stormy nights. Her favourite one was about her mother.
“Why isn’t momma here?” she’d ask.
“She went back to the sea, child, that’s where she came from and that’s where she went” her father would say – always the same answer.
“Was she a mermaid?”
“No honey, she was a fish”
“What kind of fish?”
“A big shiny silvery one, with big lips!”
One morning by the docks, she saw a fisherman haul a big silvery fish onto the jetty, leaving it flopping around feebly on the rough wooden planks. Intrigued, she ran over to take a look at the creature. Getting down on her hands and knees, she peered first at the gleaming eyes, then at the fish’s lips, watching them move as they opened and closed.