Once upon a time, when she was very young, the singing mermaid was in love with a boy who came to the land of eternal summer from capricious refined France to study. He was in love with her too. They were a beautiful couple. But then he left and her heart broke.
Although he had asked her to come with him, she could not go. She was young, patriotic and felt a strong bond with the country where she was born, a bond that she could not break. All her songs were either about love or about her country. Those were two things she knew the best and was inspired by the most. She was sure that she would lose her creativity by breaking away from her roots. That was how she had explained it to herself then. As she grew older, she realised that there was more fear in her heart than patriotism. And it was the fear that kept her from following the one she loved.
If only she had been more courageous then!
Ten years later, she still called the friend of her youth 'love of my life', learned his native language and had a lot of admiration for French people. She hadn't known much about him since they'd parted. Only that the boy became a politician like his father, was still handsome and lived in Paris.
The singing mermaid fell in love many times and was even engaged once, but thoughts of him never left her, and feelings for other men were never so beautiful and never filled her heart as entirely as her love for chéri. She dreamed that one day he would return to her.
And so eleven years later he sent her a letter that he was about to fly across the ocean for his friend's wedding. And he was dreaming to see her again.
The singer, of course, was over the moon. She sent all her male fans away and reorganised her whole week in order to see him.
They set a date. However, for some reason, he seemed reluctant to be alone with her, and invited her to dinner with his friends. Mermaid, on the contrary, wanted to meet tête-à-tête. He resisted, she insisted. He refused. And she said that in that case, he could forget her name altogether, as well as the path to the gingerbread house.
Of course, he remembered the way to her place, despite the fact that he had not been in the city for more than ten years. And he rang her doorbell as she was finishing her third glass of wine, having washed her face with tears thirty-three times. He hugged her, stayed for dinner, and then they talked until morning.
"Nothing has changed between us," — the singer told her friend little fairy the next day. — "Although he didn't say anything, I know he feels the same way. He has a girlfriend in Paris. They've only been together for three months. But he didn't want to compromise himself. I don't care, I was happy even just to talk with him again. When you know that your feelings are real, it's enough just to be beside each other."
— Did you tell him you still want to be with him?
— What have you got to lose? Maybe there won't be another chance to talk for the next ten years.
Fairy princesses do not take the first steps. They lose the crystal stuff and wait for the Prince to find them in the city of millions by the size of a shoe. But those tales were written a hundred years ago, and since then society made a number of new demands on the fair sex. So the next day the singing mermaid went to a ball in a form of a barbecue on the Bondi beach, organised by friends of the prince, a ball to which she was not invited. She went there specifically to tell him how she felt.
Courage is almost always rewarded. It turned out that he felt the same way about her. And he was afraid to be alone with her, lest he disturbs her way of life with his outspoken confessions. And he always thought of her and always wanted to be with her. And even though of leaving politics and return to the country where he spent his youth with her. But now he must return to France.
They talked all night again, going over the possibilities of their reunion in time and space. This time she will go to France for him, first only for the new year holidays, and then in April to the festival, where she is invited to perform, and then for good… Because now she is a confident well-known singer and also knows French! And then in a year or two they will return to down under and will live here happily ever after.
He flew home. She was happy and started to plan the trip, expecting him to confirm their joint plans for the near future.
A week has passed. She was sorting through her bedroom when a small bottle of perfume slipped out of nowhere and fell to the floor. Before she could gasp, the glass landed on the carpet and shattered, filling the room with the scent of perfume. Exactly the same she'd given her beloved one years ago as a present. "The bottle must have been in his pocket and fallen out, that sleepless night spent talking," — she thought… as if carrying perfume in a pocket was absolutely common for the French. "How sweet that he is still faithful to this fragrance! Now my room smells of his perfume," — the singing mermaid smiled. But then the shadow run through her mind and at that very moment she realised that deep down inside there is a knowledge — something bad is about to happen.
The scent did not stay for long. Strangely, it disappeared the next day, although French perfumes are known to be very persistent. And in the evening of the following day she received a letter from her prince. He said that despite the fact, that he loved her, and that feeling was the most present one that ever lived in his heart, he was not ready to change his life now. It's too complicated, too sudden, too unexpected, too inconvenient. He doesn't ask her to wait for him. But he is certain that they are meant to be together, it's inevitable and one day it's going to be the right time for their reunion.
''Never ever write to me again,'' — she replied, dropping her tears. And wrote a sad song about him.