Again, she is late and again, her husband sighs.

The small man curses in the wind. He breathes in the cool river air and sighs for the third time. The taunts and whispers of the other sprits are thick on the wind.  They breach the sanctuary of his bamboo home until he rushes past the leaves and jumps into the river.

The river where he first met her.

The water surrounds his body, submerging him in a blanket of liquid. There is silence here, there is peace. He thinks back to the day he met his bride. There was too much sun and he was uncomfortable in his grove, he dipped his feet in the side of the river and closed his eyes. That was the first time he heard her song. It filled his ears and stole his heart. Those were happy times.

Her family never approved, of course. The spirits of the river and the spirits of the grove lived in two different worlds. “A sirena is not meant for the likes of you.” Those words from her sisters cut deep. They would never understand what he felt.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Marriage wasn’t supposed to be this hard. There were things they couldn’t control, and she knew as well as he did. Their kind could never have children, at least not together. He knew being a mother was the only thing that could make her happy, so when she started her search he could only say yes.

He is at the bottom of the river now, and he swims to the cave. The smell of death sent shivers down his spine. He stared at all the small bones, stacked neatly, side by side. Soon, there would be another set to join them. He knew better than to succumb to human frailties. After all, he was not human enough to understand them, but the sight of the bones made him feel something strange.

He shook his head and swam back up the river. He told himself that this was the only thing that would make her happy, and it was a small price to pay. As he walks to his grove, the gossip of the other spirits reaches his ears. It doesn’t bother him, because he hears her song in the distance.

The only thing that matters to him is her smile.

She is late and he is waiting.

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