Almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I received a… vocal message of some kind on this odd little device I was given when I came here. It’s called a cell phone and humans use it to speak with each other even though they are very far away. Kind of like the song nymphs sing underwater to call to any other nymphs nearby, except these cell phones allow you to speak as though you’re standing right next to each other. I like this particular human invention.
It was Cycl0n3 on the cell phone. He apologised for not calling sooner but that he was coming over to see me now. I was still confused by his prolonged interest in me, but I agreed anyway; maybe when he arrived, I’d be able to question him about his behaviour and get some answers. There’s so much about humans and their behaviour I don’t know, yet. It makes me feel very awkward and out-of-place a lot of the time, but I hope I can adjust to this world soon, if not for myself, then for the child I’m carrying inside me. He or she will be born and raised as a land-dweller. I want my child to feel at home here. I want him or her to feel like they belong in this world, unlike me.
Cycl0n3 arrived not long after. He smiled and hugged me and kissed me and asked me how I was, and I felt a strange sensation in my chest; like I had a school of guppies darting about inside my heart and it felt very warm. It was terrifying and wonderful at the same time. Is this how humans are supposed to treat their mates? I found myself smiling back and I told him I was doing well.
“In fact… I’m doing very, very well,” I elaborated. “I found out that I’m pregnant today.” Cycl0n3’s face went very pale and his jaw dropped open as his eyes bulged. This reaction confused me. I had thought that nymphs and humans both used the same facial expressions and sounds to express pleasure, but this wasn’t a pleasant reaction. He should be pleased that he was successful in impregnating me. Now he can leave me to impregnate more females and once I give birth, I can find more males to impregnate me again.
Cycl0n3 took off the cap he was wearing and ran a shaking hand through his hair as he stared down at the ground in disbelief and it made my stomach hurt for some reason. “Geeze, Azure…” he muttered to me, shaking his head. “I didn’t expect for this to happen. I mean… we haven’t been seeing each other very long and it was just that one night…” his voive trailed off awkwardly. I was getting more confused by the second.
“What do you mean you didn’t expect for this to happen? We mated. Isn’t that the point of mating? And what does how long we’ve known each other have to do with mating?” I asked him, hoping I’d finally get some answers. Cycl0n3’s stunned expression turned into a thin smile and he put a hand on my shoulder. Something about that little gesture was so comforting and I couldn’t explain why.
“Look… don’t worry, okay? I’ll be there for the baby. I’ll tell my roommates I’m moving out, rent a nice little starter house for us and the baby, and things’ll work out. I’ll take care of you both, I promise,” he told me. I think my eyebrows must have covered my eyes in my confusion. It sounded like he wanted me to be his only mate, but… why? That didn’t make any sense. That was an embarrassment to both of us! I started to shake my head.
“What? No… I can’t do that, Cycl0n3. It’s embarrassing, having only one mate. I’m already a laughing stock where I come from. I can’t add more humiliation to that. You can go and mate with other females now. I’ll rear the offspring myself, like I’m supposed to do,” I tried to explain but I don’t think Cycl0n3 understood.
“Azure… what did you think I was asking when I asked you to be my girlfriend?! I don’t know what race of people you come from, but here on planet Earth, a girlfriend means more than just a mate! I didn’t want to just sleep with you once and then leave. I actually wanted to stay with you and ONLY you! How could you not understand that?!” he exclaimed incredulously.
Suddenly, it all made sense. Humans were monogomous! Great Sea Gods, I felt like such an idiot! I had misunderstood him when he asked me to be his girlfriend and now I was hurting him. I didn’t want to hurt him. I like Cycl0n3 a lot… perhaps more than is normal for a female to like one of her mates, but a monogomous mating with a human was something I didn’t think I knew how to do. I had already made so many mistakes. I felt utterly useless. I would not be a good girlfriend to Cycl0n3 and he was so kind to me. Far kinder than a male was expected to treat his mates back home. If he wanted a proper girlfriend, he should have one that actually knew how to be a proper girlfriend… not me. “Cycl0n3, I’m sorry, but I don’t think that can happen. Look at the mess I already made… I’ll only make more and you should have a girlfriend who can be a real girlfriend. I barely know what that is. Don’t worry about the child. I’ll take care of it myself. I expected to do that, anyway.”
“Azure, don’t be ridiculous! Will you listen to yourself?! You’ll take care of our baby by yourself?! Look around you! You live in the middle of an empty lot! You don’t have a house or a crib for the baby to sleep in. You work part-time folding clothes at a salon. How are you going to buy baby formula and diapers and clothes and toys and a crib and pay for the doctor when the baby gets sick? You can’t do this alone, Azure. I want to help. Let me help,” Cycl0n3 pleaded with me. I didn’t know why, but my heart hurt and I felt tears pricking the back of my eyes. I didn’t know why this was so painful. It wasn’t supposed to be painful. I didn’t even know what all these things were that he was talking about. In the ocean, all the mother needs to do with a newborn is feed it her milk and hold it in her arms until it is old enough to swim on its own. Were human babies more dependant? But my child would also be half-nymph. Surely it wouldn’t need much more than any other nymph child would?
“I meant what I said, Cycl0n3. I came here because I wanted to make my own life instead of having others dictate my life to me, and it’s clear that I’m not what you were seeking,” I told him and my voice cracked on the last bit. Why was this causing me so much pain?! Is this what the humans called “heartbreak”? It felt like it. It was awful. Why would any human put themselves in a position to be heartbroken like this? Did they enjoy pain?
“So… that’s it? We’re over? Just like that?” he asked, his voice carrying a note of deep sorrow that threatened to overwhelm me. I nodded, blinking quickly. I didn’t want to show weakness when I was supposed to be firm.
“If by ‘over,’ you mean I’m setting you free to be monogomous with someone else and you’re letting me take care of my offspring on my own, then… yes. It’s over,” I told him, not wanting to misunderstand him again. I had made things bad enough as it was and I was very sorry for that. Cycl0n3’s shoulders slumped and he let out a heavy sigh.
“I think you’re doing a really stupid thing here, Azure, but… hey, it’s not like I can stop you from doing what you want,” he told me in a low, monotone voice. He leaned forward to give me a soft kiss on my forehead before shoving his hands in his pockets and walking away. Just as he reached the sidewalk, he turned around again and called back to me. “If you and the baby are ever in trouble and need help… call me. I’ll be there,” he said and then left without waiting for a response.
Once he was gone, I collapsed on my bed and cried until I fell asleep for reasons I don’t think I fully understand.