“WAAAAAAADE!” I screamed at the top of my lungs when I got out of the shower and saw myself in the mirror. Oooo, he was really going to get it this time!
“What? What’s wrong?! What’s going o—oh…” Cycl0n3 shouted, running into the room and stopping in his tracks when he saw me.
Yellow! My hair was yellow! Bright yellow!
“Aw Mom! It was only a joke! The yellow washed out! Relax,” Wade tried to argue with me when I threw on my robe and ran downstairs to scold him after spending a good fourty minutes trying to scrub my hair back to its natural blue.
“That’s not the point, Wade! I swear, I don’t know what to do with you! No punishment ever seems to teach you a lesson! I’m at my wit’s end!” I really, truly was. The house had become a war zone since Wade started school. No one in the house could use anything without worrying about getting a prank pulled on them. Of course, Wade always insisted he was just having a bit of fun, but there is a point where playfulness turns into disrespect and he’s crossed that point!
“Dad! Come on! Tell her she’s overreacting!” Wade tried to plead to Cycl0n3, who only gave him the same unimpressed look I was giving him and crossed his arms.
“Go upstairs and tell your brother we’re ready to bring out the cake. Then go to your room after dinner and stay there for the rest of the night.” I breathed a sigh of relief. At least one person seemed to be on my side in this house. The girls were too young to take sides and Alton usually tried to just stay out of the way and be unnoticed. He’s so shy. A lot of the time, I feel like it’s a constant battle between Wade and me and I’m fighting it by myself.
“This is so unfair!” Wade whined, stomping up the staircase to go fetch Alton and bring him downstairs. I sighed and slumped my shoulders.
“I don’t know what to do with him. I really don’t,” I muttered. Cycl0n3 put a hand to his forehead.
“He needs to learn some respect and manners, that’s for sure,” he sighed, going quiet for a moment. “You know, there’s something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about, but it can wait until after everyone’s blown out their candles.”
As if on cue, Alton and Wade both came running back down the stairs. “Why don’t I get a birthday party?” Wade demanded jealously.
“Because it’s not your birthday,” Alton answered him, rolling his eyes. Since Cycl0n3’s, Alton’s and my birthdays were all so close together, we decided to just celebrate them all at once.
“Okay, Alton. You first,” I told him, trying to force myself to act happy even though I was still furious with Wade. I could hardly believe my little boy was going to be a teenager! Had I really been living on land with humans for thirteen years? In some ways, I felt like I had learned so much, but in other ways, I felt like this was all still so new to me, but I wouldn’t take any of those thirteen years back. It had all led to this and despite my constant headaches with Wade, I loved my home and my family. I loved Cycl0n3, too, though I’ve never said so to him. I think I’m afraid that it isn’t “proper” by human standards. We’re not married and… we live like we’re together romantically, but we’ve never officially declared it. It’s a very complicated matter and I’m afraid of trying to clarify it because we’re happy right now and I don’t want that to change.
Alton stepped up to his cake while we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him and he blew out his candles with a big grin on his face. Then my little boy was gone and a nearly-grown man stood in his place. It suddenly hit me how much I was going to miss seeing him strut about the house in his prince costume, playing pretend and sneaking out to sleep in the tree house when he thinks I’m not looking.
Alton walked over to me and gave me a hug. He was almost as tall as I was! “Don’t cry, Mom. I’m still Alton. Just bigger,” he assured me, still grinning. I smiled through my tears and nodded. He was right. I was being silly. In the ocean, I probably wouldn’t have been so sentimental, but humans make such strong, lasting memories with their children on the surface that nymphs don’t get to have. I’ve become much more humanised over the years.
Cycl0n3 gave me a little nudge towards my cake and I followed Alton’s example. I was thirty, already?! Where did the time go?! Great Sea Gods, I could feel the wrinkles on my face. Cycl0n3 soon turned middle-aged as well. I thought I had taken getting older badly, but Cycl0n3 seemed to have lost his mind…