Good to Sea You
Isabella smiled when she saw the sea nymph’s vibrant blue hair. How long had it been since she saw her? Two years, four months… “Hello little coral,” Isabella called out. The nymph turned around with a full moon smile …five days, nine hours.
“AH! It is so good to see you!” Calliope stood and coiled her arms around Isabella’s neck, hugging tightly and kissing her full on the lips in greeting. “Sit, sit! Let me pour us a drink.” The bring-your-
own-bottle cafe had been specifically chosen so the sea nymph could share a sweet river water wine.
“Tell me, literally, everything,” Calliope said, her eyes alight with curiosity. “How long are you in town?”
“Oh, just the night. I had a business meeting this morning but it didn’t go particularly well. I don’t think we’re a good fit.”
Calliope closed her eyes, turned her head away, and brushed the sentiment aside with a haughty sniff. Then she turned again, smiling with all teeth. “Then I have you all to myself for dinner.” The waiter came over and took their order, returning a bit later with large platters of seafood and vegetables.
“Can I ask you something?” Isabella began after stealing a shrimp from Calliope’s plate. “Why don’t other humans see you as a monster?” Grimace. “S-sea monster! Sea nymph! I’m sor—“
Calliope chuckled deep in her throat, a pleasant rumble. “Humans almost always lack the ability to see beyond their own reality. Some,” she winked, “can, and do, naturally or with training. It is as much magical inclination as psychological. Some humans can believe, or can learn, but the majority cannot, and so simply do not.”
“No one believed me the summer we dated,” Isabella said quietly as Calliope sipped her wine. The nymph nodded in understanding.
“Give me your phone a sec?” The results were selfies of Calliope kissing Isabella’s cheek, of baring her pointed teeth in a menacing scowl, a short video of winking to emphasize her preternaturally blue eyes and sticking out a black tongue, even recording a few seconds of singing with a voice haunted with cliffs and lost islands. All would provide ample evidence. “They still won’t believe you, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.” Isabella smiled and quickly browsed the gifts, backing them up immediately to a cloud service.
Isabella offered to pay for dinner but Calliope refused. “Just walk me home,” she said, curling an arm around Isabella’s as they headed down to the docks. They got cotton candy along the way and shared it, strolling down the beach, the outgoing tide pulling at their feet.
“Do you want to come down for a night cap?” Calliope offered, indicating some invisible path into the sea. Her emerald lips sculpted the words from formless night air into intriguing pieces of art, moonlight and sand and promises. “Yes.” And memory. “Yes, I do.”
The next morning, Isabella stood at the hostess station of a small restaurant, large sunglasses hiding her tired eyes.
“Mornin’ darlin, how many?” the greeter asked. “Just one, please,” Isabella requested, “by the window.” As she waited at the table for her server, Isabella browsed her phone’s photos.