I connected with a woman that called herself the Flying Mermaid during the days when Myspace was the social platform. She had life experience, and she drew a crowd with her ability to weave a tale. We interacted a lot, and our lives because further intertwined when she visited and stayed with me for a bit. I thought of her as a second mother. The irony is that she and my mother were born a few days apart.

Emily, also known as the Flying Mermaid, is a free spirit. She moves throughout the world in a way I would never consider—her movements encouraged by the privileges I didn’t inherit. For me, it’s like seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

Emily and I have lost contact a few times, but we’ve always managed to find each other. Every time we reconnect, I’m amazed at how well she knows me. It’s like she can look inside and read my motivations.

I love being around people that get me. I know that’s not something that happens immediately, and I enjoy being around people that put forth the effort. It’s always as simple as asking that hard question or challenging my view.

She’s called me on my shit repeatedly. She’s supported my writing. She has been supportive in ways my blood family has never been. I know I’m not the only person that feels this way about her. She’s impacted hundreds, maybe thousands. She’s a woman that has never given birth but has a world full of children.

I think about Emily a lot now because of Corona. She lives alone in the remote Arizona desert. I wonder if she’s safe if she has the supplies she needs. I wonder if something were to ever happen to her if I would know.