Home » Creativity » “The Calling” Scene 26: “The Difference”

“The Calling” Scene 26: “The Difference”

“What did Curious Squid save you?” Kemena leaned in, a curious look upon her face. “Was it something bad?”

Penny shook her head. “It wasn’t bad.”

“Then what was it?”

When they had begun this conversation, Penny considered not bringing up this part of her life to Kemena. However, since Kemena wanted to know everything about her life below the waves, she felt she would be cheating her friend if she didn’t disclose what happened in the infirmary. “Curious Squid told me that she wanted me to be her first bonding partner.”

Kemena gave her friend a strange look. “What’s bonding?”

“Uh…” Penny looked down for second and she tried to think of the best way to explain the next part. “It’s like—getting together.” She stared in the Kemena’s eyes as her eyebrows arched. “You know, like, together?”

Kemena needed only a few seconds to put it together. “Do you mean like hooking up?”

Penny’s side came out sounding almost like a chuckle. “Yes and no. I mean, if you want to look at it as something physical going on, yes, that’s what it is. But it’s not the same thing. Mermaids are emotional, empathetic creatures, and we take any sort of intimate connections seriously. I mean, even Singing Nymph and I sleeping together like we did—while nothing ever happened, we both realized there was an emotional connection between us that made our time like that all the more enjoyable.”

Kemena searched her memory for her time together with Penny before the later left and found several examples that seem to confirm this fact. “I remember before you left for the pod and, like, it seems as if all your feelings were stronger than everyone else’s. Is it like that with all mermaids?”

Penny nodded. “Pretty much. When we get angry, we’re angry. When we get upset, we’re upset. And when we love—” A wistful smile appeared on Penny’s face. “We take it seriously.”

“Does that mean you fell in love with someone?”

“I loved everyone equally, but I felt far closer to both Singing Nymph and Curious Squid.”

Kemena gave several seconds of thought to her next question, for a while she wanted to ask it, she didn’t necessarily want to know the answer. “So, did you and Curious Squid—bond?”

Penny waited a few seconds before nodding. “About a year ago. And maybe like four times between that first moment and when I came back.” She looked around the room a few times as she worked through her memories. “The last time was two nights ago.”

Kemena let out a soft sigh. “I would’ve thought you to been with her last night.”

Penny shook her head. “No, I spent my last night with Singing Nymph.”

There was something in her friends tone that caught Kemena’s attention. “Do you mean that you—”

“Yeah.”

“Wait—” Kemena’s eyes went wide. “You did with your cousin?”

Penny shrugged. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

But she’s your cousin.”

“We don’t look at it that way.”

“But—”

You can’t judge us like that.” Though she wasn’t angry, Penny’s tone changed just enough to let Kemena know she was slightly upset. “Were not human: we don’t follow human laws.”

Nearly five seconds passed before Kemena broke out of her shotgun off to speak. “What you mean, you’re not human?”

Penny seemed somewhat uncomfortable as she spoke. “I’m not human. I mean, I look like you and I talk like you, this is not really my true form. You see my true form, and that’s how really how I’m supposed to look–how I looked for the last seven years.”

She slid closer to Kemena and softened her tone to help reassure and comfort her. “You’re Homo sapiens; I’m Homo aquatica. We can live together and do things that we used to do, but I’m never going to be human. In a way, were both kind of aliens to each other.”

She took Kemena’s hands and gave them a squeeze. “And you’re still my friend. That didn’t change while I was away and is not going to change now. We may come from two different species, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to go back to what we had before I left. I want to continue our friendship and even strengthen it.” She gave the hands a small shake. “What do you think?”

Kemena refused to look at Penny for almost ten seconds: when she finally looked up there were tears in her eyes and on her cheeks. “I don’t care if you are different than me; I just want you to be my friend.”

Penny and Kemena hugged and for the first time in seven years Penny felt tears filling her eyes. When they broke Penny kissed Kemena’a cheek. “I’m not going anywhere, silly. You’re stuck with me as your friend.”

Kemena laugh. “And you’re stuck with me, too.”

“That’s good, because—” Penny’s expression turned serious. “I need to know something…”

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