“Why did they cut it off?” Abby asks spinning my hand around, looking at the tiny scars running up and down the sides of my fingers.
“I don’t know. They thought it was weird, I guess.” I shrug it away, looking over my shoulder at the window. The tall grasses surrounding my house spiral upward, blocking any view I have from my room in the basement. An airy feeling suddenly washes through my ears like wind. I shake it off. That happens a lot; ever since I was little. The doctor told me it was just inner ear pressure.
“Oh. Do you… do you think they had webbed fingers, too?” Abby raises her eyebrows.
I turn back to her, smiling a little. “I have no idea.”
They are my birth parents. I’m adopted, and have been ever since my second day on this earth. Well, estimated. No one really knows when I was born, or what my birthday is, because I was found. Yeah, not even dropped off or anything, just found somewhere out on the beach.
“You’re a mermaid!” Abby says suddenly. I jump a little, and then roll my eyes at her. It’s silly, I know, but until the time I turned six, I actually had thought I was a mermaid.
“I’m a mermaid as much as you’re a fairy,” I say, shaking my head. We both laugh, and she finally drops my hand, along with the subject.
I live in Florida Keys. It’s beautiful, I’ll say that, but I’d much rather live somewhere like Indiana or Kentucky or something like that. Something totally surrounded by land.
Ever since my sixth birthday, I haven’t touched the water.
I had invited all my friends, and we were swimming in the ocean when I went under to look for shells. I was running out of air, but I thought I saw a conch, so I dove down deeper. I reached the bottom, only to find a shinny rock. I remember looking back up at the surface, seeing it looming so far away, and then I had panicked. I’d screamed and kicked franticly, but I couldn’t get up in time. I had sucked in a giant breath of water, crying as it went down. But then…
I shook the image from my mind, turning from the window once more. Abby had left a few hours ago, so now I was walking around, wasting time until my parents came home. They were taking me out to dinner tonight because of my birthday. I was almost thirteen. I wouldn’t be until Tuesday night, but Mom and Dad had work, so we were celebrating it on a Sunday. No presents until Tuesday, of course.
I had decided not to throw a birthday party this year. It made sense. Every year I invite a bunch of kids and they all go swimming without me. I wasn’t about to watch them all do it again.
The garage door opens as Mom and Dad pull in. I dash out into the living room, taking a quick glance at myself in the mirror hanging on the wall. My wavy blond hair and flashing green eyes greet me back. The white layered skirt I’m wearing is tucked into my flower patterned shirt, my black woven strap flip flops complimenting the outfit. I smile at myself, then turn and bounce down the stairs. The door opens in my face, and I almost run into my Dad.
“Oh, hey!” he smiles at me, hiding presents behind his back. I grin back, glancing at the gift wrapping. “Not until Tuesday.” He warns, catching me looking.
“I know,” I groan, over exaggerating an eye roll.
“Now where do you want to go for dinner?” Mom asks, coming in the door.
We’re a normal family. We have a normal life. Who said we wouldn’t? I’d like it to stay that way, and I figure it will. It’s perfect.