A Crazy Aunt and The Orange Girl

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The next morning Erin and I were out on the beach. As I watched the waves, I seriously started to wonder if the necklace was still even there. It could be in China by now for all I know!

"Lee, I brought my goggles. Am I going in the water to look or are you?" Erin asked.

"It's my necklace," I decided, "I'll go try to find it."

Erin nodded and handed me his goggles. I pulled them over my head and secured them over my face, then I continued into the water. I couldn't find the necklace. I searched for a while before Erin suggested that he should help some.

"So we can have some fresh eyes out there," he said.

I didn't say anything, but gave him the goggles. I really wanted to find my necklace. My great aunt Phillis gave it to me five years ago. It was cheep. She bought it from the Surf Shop, but that didn't mean I loved the necklace any less. We used to be really close. We used to do everything together. Aunt Phillis was the first person I told about me being lesbian. We had a special bond. She knew how to make me laugh, and I listened to her crazy World War II stories. Sometimes we went to Opal Beach to get sand dollars, and if we were early enough, we would get some starfish as well. Aunt Phillis loved the sea more than anyone I knew. She told me that sea was a beautiful place. So many things unknown and so many things waiting to be found. She said I'd have to believe that anything could come from the sea. But things changed two years ago. Aunt Phillis wasn't the same.

One day she never came out of her room. I was worried sick when I didn't see her at breakfast or lunch. When I brought dinner up to her, her bedroom door was locked. I dropped the plate and quickly ran down stairs to get my dad. He eventually got the door open, but aunt Phillis just sat in a chair next to the window, staring at the sea. I tried for weeks to get her to talk to me. She never did, and after a while I stopped trying, but I have still sometimes talk to her when I felt like I can't talk to my parents. Even if she never answered, it was relief for her to be there listening.

We never did find the necklace. But I won't give up. I would just search some more. The necklace would show up eventually. It had to.

Erin and I walked on the beach for a few miles. We didn't talk much. Not until he asked me about what I freaked out about yesterday.

"Erin, I told you it was nothing."

Erin grabbed me by my shoulders. "Lee, you were shaking like a leaf. What was it?"

I took a deep breath. "Something grabbed me. At first I thought it was a person, but when you came over it swam away. All I saw was an orange tail."

"Something grabbed you? And the person never came up. Man, their lungs must be made of steel," Erin teased. He didn't mention that fact that I just told him something with a tail grabbed me.

I punched him in the arm. "I'm serious Erin! The thing had a tail. What creature has a tail and hands."

"Ouch," Erin said as he rubbed his arm. "How could it have not been a person if it grabbed you?" Again, he ignored the tail part of the situation.

"Why are you asking me? I have no idea what that orange thing was," I snapped at him.

Erin and I faced each other. He was frowning and his fingers were twitching. Erin's fingers always twitched when he was struggling with what he wanted to say. Before he could say anything, his phone rang. I Am Your Gummy Bear came playing from his butt. We both laughed, breaking the tense air between us.

"Hello?...Yeah....Okay....I'm coming home now," Erin said, and hung up his phone.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Mom needs me to help move some furniture around the house. Do you want me to walk you home?"

I smiled at him. He was such a gentleman. "No, I'm good. I'm just gonna keep walking."

Erin nodded and waved goodbye. As I walked on the beach, I couldn't help but wonder what that orange thing was. It seemed like a huge fish with hands. It was a mermaid, I thought. But that's ridiculous. There were no such thing as mermaids.

Just then, I heard a spalsh. Several feet in front of me was a girl sitting on some rocks. I stopped and stared at her. If my mom was here, she would have scolded me for doing so, but I couldn't help it. She was an orange girl. A legit orange skinned girl sitting on some rocks. Half of her body was still in the ocean. I studied her. She looked blond from here, but she could have been a brunette. I couldn't tell because her hair was wet from the ocean. She looked like she was playing with something in her hands. It looked like a necklace. My eyes widened. Could it be my necklace? Was I lucky enough?

"Hey!" I yelled at her, waving my arms.

The orange girl snapped her head to the side, watching me running at her. She watched me for a second before she started scrambled around on the rocks, trying to get back into the ocean. I ran faster. If that was my necklace there was no way I was letting her get away.

"No!" I yelled louder. "Stop! Wait!"

She didn't wait. The orange girl dived into the ocean. Her giant, orange tail making one last splash before disappearing. Why didn't she wait? How did she find my necklace? I searched over the water to see if I could find her. When I didn't see her, I bowed my head in defeat, and started to walk home.

While walking home, my thoughts were only on the orange girl. How could a girl be orange? It didn't look like a fake tan to me. Then again, I was too far away to truly tell. But her tail was a pretty orange color. Like the sunset. It also looked strong, like it could cut through the roughest waves like butter. Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks. Holy crap! How did I not notice her tail?!? My experience with the orange girl sunk in. Oh God. Did that mean mermaids were real? And that I jut saw one?

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