The Alliance of Incredibly Living Sea-folk
The Ocean Is A Cruel Mistress
The water churned below our boat. The Mauretania, the ship my mother and I were on, kept a steady pace. We were immigrating to America from Germany, and my mother was frantic.
“Norma, step away from the edge of the boat, dear. I don’t want you falling off before we can meet Granny and Gramps!” Mom fussed with my coat, speaking in German. I rolled my eyes. We were going to live with my father’s parents, of whom we had never met. They seemed stiff and proper from the stories I’d heard, hailing from the United Kingdom, but immigrating over in 1918. They had bought themselves a large house, and had settled down in America. We were supposed to do the same, but the boat trip that changed my life came before I could settle down, or anything of the sort.
I ignored my mother and leaned a little closer to the edge of the ship. “Look at the waves!” I practiced my English. I was pretty good, minus my accent. I had been the head of my class, back at home.
“Norma, stop! Careful, careful.” Mom didn’t understand what I had said, but she got the idea that I loved how the water bubbled and frothed like so many faucets pouring into a giant bath tub.
“Mooooom!” She understood that: my annoyed voice, my slight smirk of annoyance.
“Norma Betsy Meyer, you get away from the edge of this boat right now.” My sun hat flew away in the wind. “See that? The sea is dangerous! You shouldn’t be frolicking near its current, or else it’ll pull you in.” When I was young Mom would scare me with stories to get me to not break the rules. But they wouldn’t scare me now.
“See, Mom? No trouble!”I stood on the edge of the ship, balancing above the ocean. I spread my arms wide, taking a few experimental steps.
“Norma!” Mom reached out for me, but it was too late. I fell over the edge.

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