17 September 2022

Silhouette of a girl jumping and broken chains at sunset meadow with her hands raised

I sat on a plane, high above Canada.  I was untethered in the skies.  I had escaped to where other’s judgments and expectations couldn’t reach.

As I reveled in the feeling, I remembered a New Year’s Eve; my husband, Bill, and I were at a party at an historic hotel in Morgantown, West Virginia, where we’d danced the night away at our wedding reception three months before. It was thirty minutes to the stroke of midnight.

My Tanqueray and tonic with a double twist of lime sweated on the starched white tablecloth. A tea light in a crystal vase, surrounded by red rose petals, flickered into the semi-darkness which was lit by thousands of tiny LED lights strung around the lattice gazebos above the tables.  Bill had excused himself to go the bathroom.  Disco music gave way to a sultry jazz number. In a lazy, half-asleep way, my eyes scanned the couples on the dance floor. That’s when I saw her.

She danced alone, together only with herself.  Her emerald gown fit like skin on a hot mermaid. Sequins up and down the tight bodice shimmered like scales. Silken, shiny hair flowed around her shoulders, a sea of copper-red that crested in waves on milky white beaches. Stiletto heels, bright silver, dangled from her right hand. Her fingernails were crimson sirens. Her eyes were closed, as though she floated in serene abandon on the tides of the music.

She oozed unselfconscious sexy.  I was mesmerized, as her curvy body interpreted the music, conveyed through the honied whine of a saxophone. The outline of her derriere, the swell of her hips, the softness of her breasts buoyed above the strapless gown, moved in scintillated harmony to the rhythm of notes.

I glanced around.  I wasn’t the only watcher spell bound by her untethered sex. The thing is, she wasn’t a natural beauty.  But she was radiant in her complete absorption in the music, her immersion in the beat, her soul deep sensuality.

When have I been that free, I wondered, that unguarded, that unconcerned about the judgment of others, no, that unaware of others?

“Wow, she’s something,” Bill said.  He’d returned to the table and spied the mermaid. Sweat beaded on his brow and trickled from under brown hair that laid in soft waves above his temples.  The lights above the table twinkled in his glasses. His cocoa brown suit jacket was draped on the back of his chair.  The sleeves of his light aqua shirt were rolled to his elbows and exposed forearms covered with soft hair. I felt his heat. He wore the gold watch I’d given him for Christmas on his thick wrist.  “But she can’t hold a candle to you,” he said.

Desire wafted from his skin. His eyes penetrated to the soft contours beneath my light aqua gown. “Oh, yeah right,” I said and my inadequacy blushed.  “I wish you could see you through my eyes,” he said, as his fingers curled around my hand and rubbed the exquisite blue-white diamond that flashed from my wedding ring. I moistened.

I looked back to the mermaid.  I wanted the secret of her allure.  I wanted to live in my body. I wanted to be undisturbed by judgment. I wanted to live, untethered.

Copyright 2022: Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D.


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I’m an author, writer, internationally known speaker, mentor to intuitive-creative women, a retired counseling psychologist, wife, mom, stepmom and am especially in love with being “Grammy” to eleven beautiful souls and “Great Grammy” to two.

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