“I take it back,” Sean announced later that night. “I definitely hate him.”
His mom laughed. “Choice paralysis?” she asked.
“I don’t know what that is,” Sean replied. “But it sounds like what I’ve got.”
His mother snorted with laughter. “Make a list of reasons for and against,” she suggested.
“I’ve been doing that in my head,” Sean groaned. “I mean on one hand it would be kind of awesome to go visit an underwater kingdom filled with mer-people and all sorts of Ariel-shit,” Sean said.
“Language,” said his mom.
“And…I would like to spend more time with my, my dad. Man, that is weird to say. But at the same time, it does sound dangerous. It isn’t like some road trip. And he’ll be working. For all I know I’ll spend most of my time being bored out of my mind while they do incomprehensible things. Not to mention that I haven’t the slightest clue if I can really survive down there or if I’ll have to take like a whole supply of oxygen tanks in order to make it through a day.”
“I’m fairly sure he’s planning on your mer-heritage to get past that problem,” his mom said with a smile. She came over to where Sean was collapsed on the couch and sat on the little ottoman.
“Sean you really don’t need to worry about me,” she said, replying to his unspoken worry.
“I can’t help it,” Sean grumbled. “I mean, this is like the one time we both get to relax and get to ourselves. I don’t want to leave you alone for a month or months in case their cases go on longer. And…I’m not scared of something happens to me but I am scared about you, if something happens to me.”
His mom sighed. “Oh honey.” She was silent for a little while and then said. “Sean, the ocean is always going to be in your blood. I love it, your father is from it. We don’t have much here, but I’d give you the ocean if I could. This is part of your heritage. I never thought I’d see your father again. I thought, there would be a vague chance that you might meet him one day. I have already gotten everything that I could dream of for myself.” She held out her hands and Sean sat up and took them. “Let me give you the ocean. Let your father share it with you. You have a foot in each world and if you want to, I would like you to claim both.”
“And if I don’t want to?” Sean asked.
“Then we stay here and eat ridiculous amounts of pizza, surf and wait to see your dad every year.”
Sean laughed. His mother smiled at him and then squeezed his hands and released them.
“Think it about it honey. Don’t worry about me, just think about it.”
“Okay,” Sean sighed.
He dropped back down on the couch and put his hands behind his head. He was still torn. He wanted to go but he didn’t want to leave his mom. If he was being honest, he was a little scared to go. He didn’t know what lay lurking under the water. Supposed he didn’t like it? Suppose he was stuck there for a month or longer. Suppose Rakcigion turned out to be a complete and utter jerk when Sean’s mom wasn’t there? How would he deal with any of those things? What if he got eaten by a shark or a kraken? What if he didn’t want to come back?
The last question scared him to no end. It was okay if he never wanted to go back but what if he loved it down in the ocean. What if, when he came back up to land, he would hate it?
“Hey mom?” he asked.
“What if I like it too much down there?”
“Does it matter?” she asked. “You’d still be my son.”
Sean sat up and stared at her. She laughed.
“I don’t know if you noticed but I don’t let go of the people I love,” she said. Sean blinked and realized that she was right. She’d never forgotten or left his father behind. Not once in sixteen bloody years. And clearly the same would go for him.
“So, if you want to stay, then I wouldn’t mind because you’d come and visit and if you didn’t, I’d drag your fishy behind out of the water and make you visit. But honestly Sean out of all the things I was afraid of, it wasn’t that.”
“Why?” asked Sean genuinely curious.
His mother snorted. “One, you are a mamma’s boy and two, there’s no fried chicken in the ocean.”
“Oh shit,” Sean said horrified as he suddenly realized this fact.
“Language!” his mom sang out but she was laughing too.
◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌ ◌
“I can’t believe I’m saying this,” Sean announced at lunch the next day, “But if you really don’t mind, I’ll go on The Circuit.”
“Are you sure?” his mom asked. She didn’t seem ruffled at his announcement.
“Yeah,” Sean said. “I’d like to know. And I think that if I didn’t go…I’d regret it.”
“Okay,” said his mom gently. “If that’s the case, then we should definitely make use of the rest of today.”
“Definitely,” Sean grinned. “Pizza and a movie?”