I didn’t want to be there. I allowed Charlene to talk me into coming to Ginny and her husband’s home to hear her explanation. But I knew in my heart that no explanation would make up for her callousness in allowing me to believe she was dead all these years.
The night breeze whipped around us as I surveyed her house. It looked strange, to say the least. Like glowing sea coral. That house had to have cost a fortune as it was on prime real estate right on the ocean in a private cove miles upon miles away from civilization. Cell phones didn’t even work out here. Earlier, I believed that maybe Ginny was poor and that was why she couldn’t take a flight to see me, but this confirmed the obvious.
Her dogs looked strange, too. They played underneath the moonlight. I’d never seen dogs with coats like these. Maybe they were painted?
I sighed, not wanting to take another step. What was I doing here? I was a stranger. An outsider. Insignificant and totally forgotten by Ginny. Did I really want to see her happy and in love with someone else? It’d be like a shark attack emotionally. “I can’t,” I declared. “Let’s go back.”
“Dr. D…I know this sucks, but…don’t you want to at least hear her out?”
When I didn’t budge, she grasped my hand and said, “Come on. I’ll be with you. I told her you were my girlfriend anyway. I won’t leave your side, okay?” She pulled on my hand, urging me along.
Bracing myself and trying to keep my emotions in check, I clung to Charlene for support as we entered what looked like the ocean itself. What the hell?
Charlene introduced me to Ginny and her husband, Koa, as “Liam’s girlfriend”. Did I see a touch of sadness in Ginny’s eyes when she looked at me, “the girlfriend”?
Charlene broke the awkward silence, “So…like…sorry to cut to the chase, but my girlfriend here is a little uncomfortable. We just want to know what happened then we’ll go cuz we got a lot to do. We’re professors, after all, and like…our vacation is almost over. Gotta get back to school and teach and identify ancient amazing artifacts, you know, be an archaeologist? Something you used to want to do.”
If I wasn’t so upset, I would have laughed at Charlene’s little dig. She was a really cool girl, and I was so grateful to have her by my side in this situation.
Without pause, Ginny shared a story so miraculous, it was hardly believable. But then…I was residing in Charlene’s body. Anything was possible.
Six years ago, Ginny and her parents went scuba diving along the volcanic rock to see the lava flow underwater. A strong current split them apart and pushed them away from land. Ginny tried desperately to find her parents but was so lost herself, she decided to swim toward land for safety. Unfortunately, the current swept her further from shore as her oxygen tank depleted. Struggling to keep afloat, Ginny drifted down, where she thought she was going to drown but Koa was there to save her. She’d lost her memory during this ordeal until two years ago.
She stopped her story there as if that was a good enough explanation. Thankfully, Charlene interjected on my behalf, “Ginny, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t give me a reason for you to ghost me all these years. My God. We have cell phones. Internet is a thing, you know.”
Waving her arms, she said, “I couldn’t contact you, Liam, because…”
“Because I turned her into a mermaid for her survival,” her husband finished for her. “And I would appreciate you not talking about this to anyone. If word got out, mermaids would be collected for their tails. Thankfully, we are but myths to most of the world and we’d like to keep it that way.”
This knocked the breath out of me. Her dad told me about mermaids, but…them having the ability to turn a human into one?
Charlene countered, “You couldn’t get a word to me? A letter? Call me on a cell phone? Something? Geeze Louise, sister, these excuses suck.”
“I did, Liam. I saw a girl you were dating two years ago. We chatted and she told me she was going to the University of Archaeology and dating a professor there. It was you! And once she said your name, all my memories came rushing back. I wrote a long letter to you, explaining everything and for you to visit me. She promised she’d give it to you. When you never contacted me, I figured you were angry and never wanted to see me again. Koa and I got married six months later. I can’t be away from the ocean, Liam, I’m sorry, or I would have hopped on an airplane to see you. Honest.”
Charlene looked down at the floor. I was just as blown away, not knowing what to think. I knew she was talking about the student who had given me the note but that girl must have crafted another about Ginny instead of giving me the real one. Funny thing, the girl’s letter wasn’t too far off from the truth.
Koa turned to Ginny. “Darling, why don’t you let them meet little Leolani.”
“O-Okay…” Ginny answered.
Leolani? Was that one of their dogs I saw in the front yard?
Ginny left for a bit then came back with a cute toddler who looked like a mix of her and Koa. She stared at Charlene in my body and said, “This is our son.” She paused then added, “Liam, I’m really sorry that fate changed us, but as you can see, it’s all for the best.”
I stared at the little boy that should have been OUR son, not Koa’s. During the time I was with Ginny, I always dreamed of having a son or daughter with her beautiful fiery hair. And now…
I couldn’t take it any longer.
Oh my GOD! Listening to Ginny’s bizarre story was like we were trapped in a live action rendition of the Little Mermaid only Prince Eric got ditched for the evil King Mer-dude in a strange AU bad sequel. And to put salt in poor Dr. D’s wounds, she popped out her mer-spawn and flaunted him in his face. Unbe-FREAKIN-believable.
Dr. D’s face paled then he slowly got up and walked out.
“Eheheheh…” I said, trying to squelch all the weird vibes swirling around. “Sorry, my girlfriend’s a little upset. She…uh…thinks I’ll be crushed by your perfect life that should have been mine but isn’t. I can assure you, she’ll get OVER it…heh heh…”
As I got up, Ginny collapsed into me and clamped down. Gad! Mermaids must have super strength abilities, too! I could hardly catch my breath!
“Liam,” she whispered, “I wish you and Charlie the best of everything in the world. I really do.”
“Thanks,” I said, feeling so weird to have this moment with her. It was like I stole it from Dr. D. But he couldn’t have handled it anyway.
I found Dr. D sobbing on the beach a little ways from the mer-mansion. It was so strange to see him cry. When I first met him, that was probably the last thing he’d ever do. I guessed he was breaking down his walls. I was glad about that.
When I sat down next to him, he sniffed then said, “I think she didn’t want to contact me even when she regained her memory. You heard her at the end. She was glad she got away from me.”
And right there he started bawling. I felt so sorry for him and wanted to take all that pain away. But I was helpless. Ginny was a big, awful mermaid cow who honestly had probably changed on the inside. She wasn’t human anymore and she certainly didn’t care about Dr. D. It was all so sad.
Gingerly, I stroked Dr. D’s hair (well, my hair, but the way things were going, it didn’t feel like mine any longer.) “You’re better off, Dr. D. I know it sucks hairy balls right now, but in a few months, I’m sure you’ll meet someone and…”
“No!” he cried, drawing himself into a ball. “I’m done with relationships. The two I’ve had screwed me over. I don’t need that shit.” His shoulders shook as he silently wept.
Instantly, I pulled him toward me. We just stayed there for a while as I rocked him, letting him grieve the loss of what could have been.
We all woke up early to catch the next flight out, when we were confronted by an excited Shama Kazi. “Folks, I think I have the answer to your problem!”
Oh shit. I mean, seriously, I didn’t want to deal with this guy. He was like being on a bad stoner trip only without the fun giggling sessions and munchies. “Honestly, dude, we’re really tired and have a plane to catch.”
Dr. D stopped me and said, “Now wait, Charlene, maybe we should listen to him.”
“Look, I noticed in your feet outlines that you have what is called, ‘spiritual transformativation’.”
Dr. D said in an exasperated voice, “Transformativation? Like in the Archway of Spiritual Transformation? That’s how we happened upon the genie who did this to us.”
“I’m not sure about an archway, but I made a call to a woman I’d met on Magicher–a dating app for us spiritists. Anywho, long story short, I was telling her about your case. She thinks she has a spell that will get you flipped into your correct bodies! Only she lives in a secluded area which will take around a three day backpack hike over a mountain, but it is possible.”
My eyes widened. Would we finally get back to our bodies and be freed from the curse?