Hally happened to be at the registration desk when they came in, hand in hand, and for a moment she was fourteen again, and it somehow hurt as it had hurt back then. As if it were the most important thing in the world.

It was the summer that two dreams had died. One, that she’d get a swim team scholarship to college. And the other–

She used to have posters of him all over her room. Other girls had posters of rock stars, but she had Morgan Muir. Pictures of him smiling, lifting his Olympic gold medal aloft, when she was just seven or so.

Morgan Muir was when she’d first become aware that men were different, that she wanted to marry one someday. Well, beyond men being like daddy, of course. Not that she’d been exactly sure what the relationship between men and women was, just that you married a man and then he’d be with you all the time. Oh, and you got to wear a pretty white dress. And somehow babies appeared and they looked like him, and you got to be mom, and run the house.

By fourteen, she had a better idea. Enough to fuel daydreams. Not from the sex education classes. That whole thing was too real and vaguely squeaky. Dreaming about it would be like dreaming of butchering the chicken, instead of the Sunday roast all golden and mouth-watering. Instead her day dreams were composed of the love scenes in a million movies — not that she watched much, but when mom and dad were watching something, she caught glimpses of men and women embracing, their faces full of ecstasy of love, of belonging — and of stories of the attraction between couples in books. Not that she read Romance because she simply wasn’t that sort of girl. But there were love scenes in every adventure book, particularly westerns.

Sometimes in her daydreams he came and saved her, but more often she saved him, which is when he realized she was special and important and he loved her. This was because she was conscious of being ten years younger than him, and that the difference between fourteen and twenty one was a great gulf. She still looked like a little girl who’d grown too fast. She knew that. And he was a man.

This story is now part of a collection for sale here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09W3WBJYJ

73 thoughts on “Wave

  1. It’s your birthday; why do we get the present? 😀

    Anyway, congratulations on surviving another year in this mad universe. We MUST go on, for two reasons: to see what insanity happens next, and to SPITE the bastards!

      1. Wait. Our Esteemed Hostess is a Mormon Male HOBBIT with a Great Rack?

        Er …

        Or a Beautiful but Evil Space Hobbit Princess?

      1. Disney has a way of sucking all the subtle out of any source material. Sometimes this doesn’t matter; they TARZAN is the best film version I can recall seeing. And sometimes they can, for a wonder, inject something INTO a tired old trope that we hadn’t seen before. FROZEN, with the saving grace being the love of sisters (ok, VERY PC for the times, but an improvement on the traditional SNOW QUEEN tale), or MALELIFICENT. But sometimes the Disney version of something is just a disaster. The Disney POOH lacks the humor and wit of the original, and frankly strikes me as the filmic version of sugar cubes with honey. They’ve done HOW MANY versions of THE JUNGLE BOOK?, and each one has been a botch. Goddamnit, Kaa is one of Mowgli’s best friends!

        I shudder to think what the Disney team’s reaction would be to ‘Letting In The Jungle’ or ‘The King’s Ankus’ or ‘Red Dog’.

        Or ‘In The Rukh’

        1. Disney is big enough that it has it’s own (if only mental) gravity. I think they sometimes get a little ossified in that and lose sight a little of how “real people” think. Like the recent weirdness with “The Child’s” (aka Baby Yoda) antics in The Mandalorean. They seemed surprised that people found it disturbing.

          As a side note, we were looking for something for the family to watch the other night and my Youngest was definitely not in the mood for anything Disney. She said she didn’t feel like watching yet another woman get “saved by a man”.

          1. Try her on something from Studio Ghibli. SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE, and others. Disney brought them over, but seems to have passed them on to some other company. Good, strong, intelligent female characters. Award winning, too, so libraries tend to have them, so you can try them on the cheap.

            1. Better still, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, Laputa: Castle In The Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle. Nausicaa and Laputa in particular are epic in scope and concept. Hayao Miyazaki is a creative giant.

          2. Always bugged me that folks summarize the stories that way. It can kind of be made to fit, but not very well.

            Most of the Disney shows have female main characters, most have female main villains, and most of the time women do as much saving as men– they just don’t do it with muscles. The male characters are often not-very-developed.
            Sword of truth, fly swift and sure! That evil die, and good, endure!

        2. Disney’s idea of a “proper ending” is that Titanic slows down before hitting the iceberg and makes it safely to New York.

        3. The newer Winnie the Pooh movie (2011) went back to the source material and managed to be a lot better than most of the stuff they’d put out before, including having jokes that were aimed at adults without being snarky or arch. I was very surprised once I saw it, because I’d been expecting something barely tolerable and I rather liked it.

          1. Now that is old school. Early Disney, Hanna Barbera, and all that lot had some rather perverse animators who would insert all kinds of risque flashes in kiddy cartoons.
            I always thought it was the artists’ way to show some defiance toward the iron fists of old Walt and the lesser lights running all the animated production shops of the day.

            1. More likely a middle finger to the Motion Picture Production Code (the ‘Decency Code’) used to censor movies starting in 1930.

        4. I enjoyed Frozen, but it doesn’t so much inject something new into the story as borrow one or two fragments and go somewhere so completely different I wouldn’t have identified it as inspired by Andersen’s Snow Queen. There are existing fairytales where sister-love is key and… now I kind of want to review and see if anybody involved pulled identifiably from some of those, or if they thought they were doing something unprecedented.

          I agree fervently that making Kaa into an enemy is just utterly wrong. He’s scary — Baloo and Bagheera getting caught up when he is hypnotizing the Bandar-Log especially — but he’s awesome. And an excellent teacher/friend/ally. As you say.

          ….Giving him Winnie-the-Pooh’s voice actor was just brainbreaking enough to go around the end and be a little entertaining again (Just a sssmall sssmackerel….?) — but I’d much rather have seen him done properly.

          1. THE JUNGLE BOOKS are so spectacularly non-PC that I don’t really EXPECT anyone to do better. The Chuck Jones tv specials were OK, and everything else is just drek, and unlikely to not be.


      2. Ah. That makes sense. I was in the wrong age bracket to be significantly exposed to that movie; it was during one of the periods when Disney had different movies they were pushing.

        I’m definitely going to remember this one for later.

      3. I only read the Grimm version… I wonder if there was added detail in the originals that conveyed this.

        Or perhaps it is a case where the tale is supposed to be told with a context of adults who know the missing pieces and can explain. Which doesn’t work so well when no such adults exist.

        1. Gripping hand: perhaps I was just reading fairy tales far too young to understand anything beyond the surface.

          Waldo hand: but then that can’t happen if no one in the area knows there is something under the surface…

          1. Hmm, well not sure what version I read…. My fairy tale (and many other stories) source were the Everyman’s Children’s Library books.

            Since there was a deeper meaning behind the story I assumed it was an old story.

            1. They do tend to get blurred. Andrew Lang listed “The Golden Mermaid” as from Grimm. (It isn’t.)

  2. Many happy returns of the day! And thank you for the lovely gift.
    Here’s the least I can offer, with the same title, which should speak to anyone in our age bracket (it was released in 1979), especially what with Red Francis in our times:

  3. Happy Birthday Sarah. Like the others, I feel like a Hobbit now (and its not just that I really like mushrooms :).

    Thanks for the wonderful story and enjoy your day.

  4. Happy Birthday! It’s a good thing you have other fans who know your birthday. The only writer’s birthday I can ever remember is one that is the same as mine.

  5. Loved the story! Great reverse birthday gift 🙂 Happy birthday! (Though I think that all mothers ought to be able to celebrate their children’s birthdays too 🙂 Yes, it’s all about me, why do you ask?)

      1. Happy Birthday! And thanks for the story. Niiiiiiiiiiice!

        A few days ago we celebrated our Lab-Aussie’s 16th birthday. Born on the 14th-ish. (Shelter pup, don’t know for sure.)

    1. I used to wish my mother happy birthday on my birthday. It was fun and always seemed appropriate. She did all the work after all.

  6. I knew you could write, but until this story I didn’t know you could write a sweet, romantic story set in the world we live in, and not a world made up in your wonderful imagination.

        1. These are sort of the Renaissance Faire version of things – how wish it would have been, rather than how it really was (first/eventually) told. I know there is a supply of Faerie Tales and such that would allow this to go on for some considerable time. However, should there be cause to look elsewhere, I’d have NO objection a re-telling/re-casting of various Ancient Greek stories. Yes, including (perhaps especially) THAT one.

          1. That’s a story that I’d love to hear your version of, but in general I enjoy the stories of nonhuman individuals because of the difference in perspective.

  7. Good job there dear niece.
    A few minor typos so when you put these all together let’s do a final scrub before putting them out there.
    But all these riffs on traditional fairy tales are so very much needed by the greater reading public these and the coming dark days. So, my new mantra is scrub before pub.
    And thanks for last night, appreciated your efforts though I am an idiot and forgot to wish you happy birthday.

  8. Now I understand what you said about being difficult to categorize. This is good stuff.

    And belated happy birthday.

  9. Joe Biden and the STILL tells us to UNITE and to HEAL– — as their Poster Child Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for making a lists of people they intend to destroy, treating Trump and his supporters as if they were Domestic Terrorists and wishing death to all his family. And calling us Republicans “Sycophants”…
    This is exactly what was done in the 20th century in the United States it was called a BLACKLIST denying employment to professionals believed to be Communists sympathizers. They were also denied employment because of their beliefs.

    So let me tell you now, NOW that our current President t is trying to exercise his right to question a RIGGED election, If anyone thinks with Biden’s winning that the Left intend to forgive and forget, to heal and unite, they are a fool—- people forget why they voted for Trump four years ago, and with Biden and Harris, they think that all of a sudden their going to Change the way that those animals in the streets were beating up old ladies and destroying, and upsetting a peaceful demonstration!. The Only Healing and Uniting the Left intend is for you to accept Biden’s winning and MOVE ON, forget any hope of living without them running your life, and that even if you WANTED to Unite and Heal, THEY WON’T LET YOU “UNITE” they want these riots, and Protests. They want the economy to tank .And they want you to believe that it all Trump’s fault.
    I was glued to to the TV the other night. Why? Not because I wanted to watch Dancing with the Stars, or some stupid “Funny Video” about Cats, and people falling…. No, but because of all the violence I saw in DC when the Sun when down, and Night fell that night. I saw almost every video that was posted, whether of couples and parents with children or of minorities and elderly people being attacked, and Sucker Punched, by JOE BIDEN’S SUPPORTERS. All innocent people who came to protest a Stolen Election. I watched as nobody on the left condemned this behavior. I watched as law enforcement did literally nothing to stop the violence, instead, the Mayor’s, and Governors of these States let their States, and our nation’s capital become a hellhole.
    With Antifa, marching around Shouting that “America was NEVER Great”!

  10. Another beautiful story that ever so gently skims the waves in the sad world of the Little Mermaid. 🙂

    (BTW, I once closely rewrote “in modern English” the very hard-to-read 1756 version of Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont for a client who wanted a legal-hassle-free retelling of this well-known story for a sleep-tales project. It came out well, and the client was pleased with the results. For some stupid reason, though, the onion ninjas were out in force at the finish.) :-/


  11. Well, yeah, I guess it could be a take on “The Little Mermaid.” Huh. I was just blitzed by the romance. (Or I’m not subtle.)

  12. Thank you so much for the hobbit birthday present. I hope your birthday was full of fun and romance, and that you have many many more.

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