Aalia's Point of View I couldn’t believe it. I was human, finally. Well, I was already three-fourths human, but still, walking on the sand, made me feel like a real seventeen year old.
I practically had to beg my dad to go onto the beach myself. I had spent my whole life underwater, how was the surface any different.
I was fascinated by bathing suits. Guys wore shorts, women wore these two pieced things called bikinis. That’s a pretty weird word. Why not just call them “two-piecers” or something.
That would make life so much easier.
Then he caught my eye..He was just sitting in the sand, a towel branded with a red-cross slung over his shoulder. “Hey.” He seemed to be about my age. His green eyes were framed with these clear lensed glasses. I couldn’t resist.
“Woah, these are so cool!” I plucked them from his face and took a look through the lens. Everything was all wavy and distorted.
“Hey! Don’t you know not to take stuff off peoples’ faces?” He asked, his golden brows furrowed and he yanked them back from me.
“Oh, uh...sorry.” I looked down at my feet and pushed them so I couldn’t see my toes anymore. I guess that wasn’t exactly right for a seventeen year-old to do, whether it was their first time on the surface or not.
“It’s fine.” He got up to his feet, and he was tall. Like, really tall. I was criminally short for my age, standing at a staunch four foot eleven. His golden curls fell down to his shoulders and bounced about with every little move he made. “I’m guessing you’re not from around here. Sandy Curtis.”
“I’m Aalia.” I offered him my hand, and he took it. His palm was calloused and rough.
“Aalia? Is there a last name to go along with that heavenly first name?”
Heavenly? I didn’t know about that, but I had to come up with something quick.
“And what makes you think you deserve to know that?” I flipped my hair over my shoulder and..at least hoped I looked good.
He laughed. “Fair enough. Wanna get a tour of the pier?”
I most certainly did. He pointed out every little crack in the boards that made up the pier, the sour locals to steer clear of, and the people to vibe with on the beach when bonfires started up. I didn’t really get what vibing was, but it seemed like fun. We walked for hours, sometimes without talking. He would adjust his glasses a lot and keep on staring at me every so often. Somehow, we ended up back at The Gull, looking out over the cliff onto the setting sun. It was like watching a freshly cracked egg yolk run down the surface of a plate.
I had just had an egg for the first time that morning - that and the sunset were equally as amazing.
But what would have made it even better was if my dad wasn’t watching us through the window while he drank some sort of alcoholic stuff. I didn’t really care for it.
“Are your dad and that other guy..together?” Sandy asked me, with a raised brow. I whipped around to face him. “I don’t know...is that a thing?”
His eyes widened. “Well, sure.” He ran his hands through his curls and looked at me, absolutely incredulous. “People can be gay, bisexual, pan..” He let out a little chuckle. “You don’t get it, do you?”
I shook my head and felt my cheeks heat up. I felt stupid, thinking that magazines could teach me everything about people-people that I looked like, but that I knew close to nothing about.
“That’s alright..I can teach you. You know, I’m..er, bi myself.” He winced, like it hurt him to say.
“I just haven’t exactly told my parents yet.” He went quiet, and his mouth fell into a frown.
I set a hand on his, just to let him know I was there. His mouth split into a toothy grin and he kissed me on the cheek. “Whaddya say,” He whispered as he pulled away. “We go down to the pier for some fun?”
I nodded, my cheeks had gone bright red; I could feel it. I scampered up the front steps and was ready to put on an act for my dad. I was lucky he dismissed me without a question.
I ran back over to him and off we went, giggling and whispering like we’d been together forever fingers intertwined. As we neared the buzzing rows of shops and pretzel carts, he bent down and pressed his lips against mine. “I think I like you.” He told me as he pulled away, leaving me frozen as he sprinted off. After a few steps, he turned around and motioned for me to follow.
“Well, come on. We’re gonna miss the live band!”
I nodded and skipped after him, completely in bliss. I may not have known a lot about the surface, but I was ready to learn.