It took Salim a few moments to take in everything he’d seen and heard. He’d never disbelieved in the supernatural, but he wasn’t exactly going out of his way to find it either. Now a woman claiming to be a mermaid was standing before him with his boss and two lackeys hypnotized and dazed.
“Alright,” he said somewhat surprising himself. “I choose to believe you.” Of course it took him almost two weeks to actually do it, but believe Salim did. As promised Aziza spent her time on shore observing and learning about Salim and the people of Sheepshead. Before long it felt as if she’d always been there. No easy feat for a complete stranger.
“You never said,” Salim spoke up one morning. “How long are you planning on staying?” Aziza, who’d taken up residence in Salim’s bathroom (save for when he needed to actually use it), looked up from her breakfast. A look of concern crossed over her face.
“Ah, that,” she said avoiding eye contact. “It’s been fun, and quite educational…but soon. I’m going to have to go home soon.” Salim nodded, but he hadn’t quite processed what that meant. Not fully.
“We’re all going to miss you,” he said occupying his hands with a strawberry. “You’ve made things livelier for pretty much everyone.” Aziza smiled thoughtfully.
“Well everyone’s been quite lovely, but I think I’m mostly going to just miss you,” she said taking the fiddled with strawberry and popping it into her mouth. If Salim could blush he would’ve. Instead his face heat up a beat and he in turn avoided eye contact. “You could come with me.”
“I can’t breathe underwater,” Salim said almost instinctively, realizing quickly what a dumb thing to say it was. Aziza laughed at that.
“Well at the moment neither can I,” she smiled regaining her confidence. Looking Salim in the eye she continued, “but I can fix both of those things. What do you have to lose? You hate fishing.” Salim began to falter in resolve. “Just think about it.” Taking another piece of fruit from his plate Aziza got up from the table and walked towards the bathroom.
The two of them didn’t talk again about the ocean or Aziza going home again for the next few days. Aziza considered bringing it up on a particularly jovial evening, but decided it might ruin the mood. She hadn’t expected to get so attached to a human being, and yet here she was acting like a complete barnacle hoping one would want to come with her for once.
Finally it was time for her to go home. The moon was full and so was her tablet full of new information about people and all their social nuances. After saying goodbye to the bulk of the town and to her favorite little kitty that always stopped by Salim’s place around lunch time Aziza made her way to the beach. She hadn’t seen Salim all day and he’d promised to meet her there.
“I hate goodbye’s too,” she sighed realizing after 30 minutes he probably wasn’t coming. She walked towards the water hands on the necklace around her neck preparing to take it off and transform back into her true form.
“Wait!” a voice called out clearly out of breath. Aziza smiled knowing full well who it was without turning around.
“I thought for a moment you wouldn’t come and see me off,” she said facing Salim with a smile.
“Well you weren’t completely wrong,” Salim said somewhat sheepishly. “I didn’t know what to bring, but I’ve decided. I want to go with you.”
“Yes, really I like you as much as I hate fishing.”
“That is a lot,” Aziza smiled her eyes tearing up. She would miss that sensation. Walking over to him and taking his hand she looked into his eyes. “Are you absolutely sure about this. I never meant to pressure you. You can always come back.” Salim shook his head. As far back as he could remember Salim had lived life safely. He chose a safe job, he made safe friends, and he had a safe home. It had served him well, but the best he could say about his life was that he was in good health. That wasn’t true anymore, and he didn’t want it to be.
“I don’t think I’ll be coming back,” he said giving Aziza’s hand a squeeze. In response she lead him to the water and took off her necklace and put it quickly around Salim’s neck. In an instant they had both transformed.
***Author’s note: Being sick sucks and threw off some of my mojo. I did intend for them to both head off to the ocean though so proud of myself for finishing this story at all. Who know’s what next week will hold. I’m still not ready to share anything about my actual child. See you Monday with thoughts on Wonder Woman.