Meet Cordelia Eaton. She’s 12 years old and decidedly unremarkable in all aspects of her life. In her darkest hours, she learns of her family’s legacy and that she is far from ordinary. Her family not only lives and works on the water as fishermen, but they return to the sea upon their death and live eternally below as mermaids. Follow Cordelia in this riveting coming of age story, where she’ll confront past hurts in her earthly life and make plans for her future life – The Life Below.
“…for he loved the sea that captured him in his final moments…” I pick at the hem of my dress as I hear the preacher drone on about my father and how much he loved the sea. Not about his family or his only child, me, but his one truest love…the sea.
I dodge hugs from all the women in the funeral line who offer their condolences with little feeling behind their words. They tell me to take things one day at a time. They tell me it will get better. They tell me to keep my chin up. I breathe a sigh of relief as the line of parishioners comes to an end. As my grandmother talks to the preacher, I steal away across the street to sit atop the rocks and watch the sun set over the breaking waves.
My emotions match the tides, coming in ebbs and flows. I am offered some solace in that I’ll have a reprieve from the grief after another crying spell. My tears are as salty as the splashes of salt water stinging my face from the waves. My breathing comes in jagged spurts and I feel like I’m drowning myself.
I’m confused. It’s too much. Like my mother just a year before, the sea was her first love and it took both their lives. Why? What did I do to deserve this? Two parents who loved the sea more than their own flesh and blood and that both died so shortly into my own life.
My name is Cordelia. I’m 12 years old and now I’m an orphan.
Heather Jones-Kipp is a wife, mom of 4, student, and writer currently living just outside of New Orleans. Her favorite authors are John Grisham and Wally Lamb. In her free time, Heather enjoys social media, fun activities and trips with her family, watching The Walking Dead, reading, and working on her future novels.