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DAVID was a notorious womaniser. He just used women then left them. Wherever he went, he left a trail of broken hearts, vengeful souls and a few children. When he learned of the kids, he promptly disowned them.

His relatives tried to persuade him to change but this did not work. He vowed to have fun all his life. He just kept on with his merry ways. The ladies felt he was irresistible. He felt the ladies were delicious and to be savoured.

Some of his escapades saw him staying out late at nights and consuming too much alcohol. He was not a drunk and did not drink unless it was a special occasion.
It was after one of these special occasions that he was returning home at about 02:30hrs. The sky was a mixture of moonlight and darkness caused by constant cloud cover. While walking along the road shrouded in semi-darkness he spied someone walking just ahead of him. His practised eyes discerned that it was a woman. He hastened to meet her.

She was beautiful beyond his wildest imagination. Her eyes seemed to glow with impish seduction and her hair long and black, glistened in the inconsistent moonlight. When she smiled at him he completely lost his bearings. He just floated along in her presence.

Their romance was a kind of ready-made affair; a modern day fairy tale. He fell in love with her and she with him. From the very first night, she calmly but firmly denied him permission to walk her home. They began to see each other regularly as their relationship intensified. Very soon he took her home to meet his parents. Both his mother and father were charmed by the beautiful maiden. They gave their full approval to the two young people.

His grandmother, on the other hand, was quite the opposite. She took one look at the beauty and instantly disapproved. Nothing David told her made any difference. His grandmother made herself very clear. “Dat girl is trouble. Get rid a she!”
The young man didn’t care what anyone said. He loved Petal and wanted to live the rest of his life with her. She too shared the same sentiments.

There was only one problem. Each time he asked her to take him to meet her family she would refuse. Whenever she faced this question her eyes would flood and she would tell him in her melodious voice about her love for him.
“No David. I love you too much for that.”

This behaviour puzzled him. Why would she keep refusing to allow him to meet her parents? He did not press the issue because he sensed that if he did he might lose her. She made him promise never to ask again. He agreed reluctantly but the subject just reposed in his heart.

He became intrigued by the mystery of the lady and frustrated by the progress he was making at knowing his future in-laws. She was in love with him he could tell but every time he asked her about her family or offered to walk her home she would become sulky and withdrawn. This made him more determined to find out about her.

His friends and villagers, even his own family knew nothing about her. She was a genuine mystery. He decided to follow her home and meet the in-laws with or without her permission. But this did not prove to be an easy task. She came to him at night and left at night. Whenever he tried to follow her she would just melt into the darkness.

Night after night he tried. Then he got a brainwave. He would wait until the full moon and follow her. And that was exactly what he did. He knew from the failed attempts that she always headed in one direction, north. There were only a few homes near the beach and he felt that she lived in one of them. They were small, old houses and the people there were very poor. He was beginning to figure out why she wanted to keep him away from her home. She was obviously ashamed of her family’s poverty. He was going to give her a pleasant surprise. Instead, he received a nasty shock.

That night he walked her to his front door and kissed her goodbye. When he closed the door after her he headed for the back door. Slipping outside he followed her from a distance using every available object and shadow to mask his movement.
The lovely lady headed north. Every now and again she paused and looked behind her as if she suspected that she was being trailed. She soon gave that up and walked quickly towards the small houses. She didn’t stop at any of the homes, however, but passed them and headed towards the sea. When she reached the water she waded in and kept going.

David was spellbound by her behaviour. Instead of going straight home she was taking a bath in the sea. He understood the reason for this. It was because she lived near the sea all her life that this was not unusual for her. He watched as she moved from ankle deep water to waist deep rolling surf. She plunged beneath the coffee brown water and surfaced a minute later. It was then two things hit him.

For the first time he saw how truly beautiful she was. His eyes were locked onto a magnificent comb she was using to comb her long silvery hair. The second thing that struck him was the long luminous tail that extended below her waist. It flapped gently on the water keeping her afloat.

David was petrified. He just froze in revulsion and fascination. Her eyes were fixed on his place of concealment. She smiled sadly and waved to him. David held his cover. Then she waved goodbye and her words floated to him over the water.
“You will never see me again my love!”

Then she was gone.
David ran like the wind towards home and sanity. His grandmother was sitting on the front steps knitting one of her many centers. She took one look at him and shook her grey head as if to say “I told you so.”
“Yo jus see who she really is right?”

He nodded his head stupidly gulping air to catch his breath.
“Yo mus learn to listen to old people!” she admonished.
He made a mental note to make daylight his only time for meeting ladies. Then he retired for the night. And boy what a dream he had.

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