Jingle Shells

seatree

 

“Jingle shells, jingle shells,

Jingle all the way.

Oh, what fun it is to ride

On a rushing, cresting wa-ave!

Jingle shells, jingle shells,

Jingle all the way.

Oh, what fun it is to ride

On a rushing, cresting wave.”

 

Harmony surveyed her underwater domain and used her tailfin to push herself backward so she could see the very top of her tree.

Oh, it wasn’t a decorated pine, like the dry-landers had. She’d always thought pine was what you did when you missed someone so much that your heart hurt, the way she did when Oskar wasn’t able to visit her for long stretches of time.

Rather, her Christmas tree was a living kelp plant she’d coaxed into the shape of a tall triangle, then adorned with shells and sea glass, and – with a bit of bribery – even a sea star at the top (actually a family of them that she fed well with krill and brine shrimp.)

Studying her work, Harmony moved a shell one level higher and replaced it with a piece of blue sea glass. Blue and red were her favorites, and they were also the rarest colors. She’d heard the humans on the beach make similar comments, which is why she was certain Oskar would appreciate her gift to him.

Oh, the thunder god she’d been in love with for half of forever didn’t really celebrate Christmas the way her kind did. Rather, he observed the winter solstice and the way it marked the end of the increasing darkness in his world. But he brought her gifts every time they met, and she was all too aware that she had little to offer.

A great boom that was more a feeling than a sound rocked Harmony’s cave, and she grinned. Gathering the woven bag that held the gift, she swam out of her home, and up to the surface.

Her lover, her Oskar, was waiting for her on an ice floe just big enough for two, and he was smiling. “Here you are, my breath-and-blood. Here you are. Here I am. Is full moon. Is solstice. You ask. I come.”

Harmony reached up and allowed the burly rainmaker to hoist her from the water. As always, their floating meeting place was covered in thick furs, and as her tail split into legs, he wrapped her in the warm pelts. “It’s a special day in my world,” she told him. “I brought you a gift.”

“You are gift,” he countered.

“That’s sweet, but I have a different gift, something to share with your loved ones. Hold out your hands.”

He did as she bade, and she poured out the contents of her bag – red and blue sea glass – letting the pieces flow over his fingers. “We decorate with this,” she explained. “I thought…”

But she never finished her thought because Oskar was laughing. “Red and blue…” he said. “My favorite. Red for the lightning fire and blue for the water. Is brilliant. Is us.”

Harmony smiled. “Yes,” she said. “Yes, it is.” Then she tickled Oskar under his beard. “You always sing for me.  This time, it’s my turn.” And she launched into another chorus of her favorite holiday song: Jingle Shells.

 

 

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Jingle Shells by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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