Ife’s Ride

by Tracy Ramey


Some come to our waters for healing. Others come to catch a glimpse of our fins as we dive. Whatever they come for, we are here. We wait for no one, yet it seems that since the moment our Mami birthed us, we have been waiting. Asiri, our oldest sister, watches us like an old cod. Noiselessly swimming behind us when she thinks we should be making better use of our time. Her locks are gray with a bluish tint and almost as long as her royal blue fin. She doesn’t know how to keep to herself. She is always chatting with the fish folk or making trips to see the other mer-people in our village. She glides on making a fuss about everything and nothing at the same time. 

~

Omi, my middle sister, is the best friend a girl could ask for. Sometimes we dive into the depths together, meeting new fish folk, like Bebo, who insists we try the seaweed by his home every time we come by. Omi is her free-est when we swim so far down, we explore new caves and volcanoes. 

~

One day, after diving as far as we can go, Omi and I decide to race to a spot on the coast that has a huge rock for us to sun ourselves on.

“Alright, Ife, you know your little fins can never keep up with me, eh,” gloated Omi, tying her tendrils back into a thick braid and securing it with her coral hair pin.

“Listen sister, all you are going to see are these little golden fins so far ahead of you, you’ll think it’s the sun!”

“Okan, meiji, meta!” We sputter at first, pushing each other with our arms in order to knock the other down and have an advantage. Omi is water. She glides so smoothly that she barely makes a ripple. Her green and blue tail glistens ahead of me like the ocean itself on a cloudless sky.

I don’t like to lose. What I love is using my powers to play tricks on my sisters, especially Omi. When Omi has gotten so far ahead I know I can’t catch up, I stretch my arms out wide and let the warmth reach out to a squadron of manta rays. Overwhelmed with love the rays come to my aid. I climb on one’s back while the others fall into formation. We speed so quickly that we’ve just about caught up with Omi, who is about to breach the surface. Pressing my head down onto my ray, he immediately knows my request.

With an enormous splash I go flying through the sky. From my ascent I see that Omi has breached the water. All I see from the sky is her copper-colored arms  crossed in front of her. Arms open, I breathe in air as I twist my body around and around. My huge afro blows in the wind as I angle my body back down to make a splash.

“Ya know, if I could command creatures with my love to slingshot me into the air, I could win our silly little races, too.” I hear Omi’s muffled voice from the place where I plunged back into the water.

“Oh please, sister. You command the water around you. You could have easily won if you didn’t underestimate me.”

At this our rock called our names.


© Copyright Tracy Ramey


Tracy Ramey was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She has been an early childhood educator since 2007. It quickly became apparent that many available books did not represent all of her students. She is committed to crafting children’s book characters that are as unique and authentic as the children she serves. 

In 2018 Ramey’s daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 is a chronic illness that currently has no cure. She is passionate about bringing awareness to this disease and is currently The Communities of Color Outreach Lead for the Ohio chapter of #insulin4all. Ramey and her daughter Cassidy are currently crafting a story together about a young girl with type 1 diabetes.


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