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we're not pretty; we're cold.

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They never tell you how cold it is in the water. It's one kind of cold to be splashed with it or to fall in. It's another kind of cold to be in it until you're mostly numb and all your joints ache and your skin feels like a rubber coat and the cold is on the inside of you, not out. We don't just sunbathe on rocks to look pretty. We're not pretty; we're cold.

We reach for you, swim around your boats, lurking in the water like gorgeous sharks, lure lonely men into the water. You remind us of everything we miss; the warmth, the life, the freedom. We sing to you, call you to play with us, laugh and smile and try our best to lure you in, and each time we think that maybe you'll be the one, but you never are. We drag you down with us and cling to the heat in your bodies for as long as there's any left, breathing in the life you let out in little bubbles. We try to hope that someday, we'll find some way to makes this longing go away, but we never do. We're not seductive; we're desperate.

You see us as adventures to go home and tell tavern stories about, or reasons to wear one more amulet so you don't drown just like your shipmate did that one sunny afternoon when the seas were calm. We see you as prey and salvation and bitter, haunting temptation. We're vengeful and we hate you as much as we wish we could have you and be you. You drowned us, so long ago, one by one, tossing us off the ships and no one remembers why anymore. No one remembers who we were, not even us, but we remember enough to know that we hate you. Sometimes we forget to hate you, though, when we're caught up in the hope and frantic need, when we're so so cold and you're just warm enough. Sometimes we forget that you killed us, and we kill you without even meaning to, when all we really want is for you to stay alive and let us warm ourselves on your soft skin. It's not love, but it's more than just hate when we hold you down under the water until you stop moving and watch your skin turn as blue as ours. We want everything from you, but you can only give us so little before you're drained and empty and we have to let you go, watching your body sink down into the darkness below. Then we go up, towards the light breaking through the water, and search for a sunny spot to rest and another lost soul to take.