The first time Fraser saw her he thought she was a reflected image. But, of whom? He was alone as always and, looking around and behind him, there was obviously no-one else sharing his rocky sea-side walk. So he looked back. Closer this time. And then he saw her smile. He knelt on the rough rocks to peer into the water. There was nothing there. But a sparkle at one side caught his eye and he turned his head and saw her again. Part of her was out of the water. All around her the setting sun turned droplets of water into fiery glistening beads. Starry flashes of brilliance bounced off her wet skin, enhancing the gentle curves of her shapely form, before she once again disappeared. Fraser was overcome with the unreality of the situation. He became as if in a trance and boyishly - and a little embarrassedly - looked from left to right and round-about. And then, as if in a game of “catch me if you can”, she appeared fleetingly twice more; once to his right and once straight in front of him - but just too far away to reach. Then, all of a sudden, in the water, her sweet smile appeared very close to where he was kneeling. Fraser was drawn hypnotically. He knew he had to join her. His clothes somehow left his body as he made his smooth and splash-free entry into the water. There was no coldness. Just a perfect ease of movement and a blissful feeling of peace as he joined her - and their bodies moved through the water in symphonic harmony. Later, Fraser couldn’t recall how long he had swum or even when he had left her. He had returned home in a daze, feeling happier than he ever remembered. He returned at dusk the next day, but she didn’t reappear. Fraser was beginning to think that it had all been a figment of his imagination. Thoughts of insanity entered his head. But, two evenings later, there she was, waiting for him, and Fraser once again experienced a previously unknown ecstasy as together they plunged silently through the gentle waves. Some days later, when walking along the shore-line at dawn, he experienced the strange feeling of a familiar presence and ran to the edge of the rocky shelf to find her there. As usual, her beckoning smile seduced him into joining her in the water and again their ecstatic aqua duet was performed in a dream like state. Fraser experienced utter bliss as, time after time, each new encounter with this vision of loveliness filled him with wonder. Days came and went, and most brought with them another welcoming and exhilarating submergence. Some sort of magnificent awakening had taken place in Fraser’s life. His life changed and he entered upon his daily tasks with a new lightness. He walked along the shoreline daily at sunrise and sunset, usually to be rewarded with this rapture of new found togetherness. Yet he told no–one. It was something that was impossible to share. Weather was no handicap. On cooler days Fraser felt no discomfort in the cold water. In fact, he had no recollection even of wetness, so trance-like were the blissful encounters. He hadn’t ever known swimming in the sea to be so easy. There were no spluttering need-of-air problems that had previously marred his swimming experiences. It was all so wonderful. She was wonderful. The water was wonderful. And Fraser felt wonderful. Life now had meaning. How happy I am, thought Fraser, as he once more slipped into the welcoming comfort of the gentle waves. So this is love. And he returned her smile. The swell of the sea buoyed them upwards before, once again, they gracefully submerged in a fluid pas-de-deux; two bodies so harmonious in their movements that they were as one with each other and as one with the sea. The surge of the waves was hypnotic as it rose and fell. The welcoming blanket of sea swell washed perfectly over and around them and Fraser’s joy was complete.
* * *
The small paragraph in the newspapers simply read:
The body of a man washed up on Riverlana Beach yesterday has been identified as that of Mr Fraser McKenzie, 42, an accountant of Riverlana. Mr McKenzie was a bachelor with no known family. It is thought that he probably fell off rocks into the sea while dolphin watching the previous evening.