The first time we met was on the beach that my family and I lived near. Usually, around the age I was, kids would be absolutely ecstatic about going to the beach. But that was only because it was a privilege for them, a rare treat in some cases. For me, it was an everyday thing. Sometimes, it was absolutely mandatory. So I always ended up sitting just at the level the waves stopped at, creating little patterns in the sand until they were washed away by the water. The thick scent of the sea was getting on my nerves already, and barely anyone came around this time of year. But there he was, all alone, running in big circles and laughing as if someone were with him, chasing him.

He had deep red hair and little freckles everywhere, and was in a dark purple swimsuit. He had the best smile of anyone I'd ever seen, nice, pearly, and real. I sat in the water, watching him silently, until he looked my way. I hadn't noticed for a few seconds, but when I did, I blushed and turned back to the water. Silently I was hoping he wouldn't come over and just keep running in circles, but I could hear his footsteps coming my way until he finally stopped behind me.

"...Uh, hey."

"..."

He tapped my shoulder slightly, and then leaned over me. It wouldn't do any good for me to ignore him now, so I turned.

"What...?"

"You look lonely, why don't you get up and play?"

"Play?"

I remember giving him a look.

"But we're all alone here, there's no one to 'play' with."

He stood and put his arms behind his back, closing his eyes as if he were about to explain something on an absolutely scholarly level. All of that worked, though, because that's when I decided to listen.

"If you imagine that there are, then there will be! My parents left me here for an hour, so I play with my pretend friends. We were just in the middle of playing tag when one of them told me you were over here."

That's when I started thinking there was seriously something wrong with him, too. Imaginary friends...But I was also surprised that his parents had simply left him there on the beach, all alone. My parents weren't around either, but we lived close enough that I could just walk home when I was done. I hadn't seen him around, ever, he couldn't have lived anywhere close. I barely noticed him looking down at me, waiting for some kind of response.

"So...why are you just sitting here, in the water? Don't you get cold?"

"..."

I shook my head.

"I never get cold, really." I began, no way to stop myself from telling him. "I'm actually a mermaid-or boy, or whatever. So I have to come here every day to soak or I'll...you know...."

There was a moment of silence. I looked down at my toes underwater and dug my fingers into some of the wet sand next to me. He was probably waiting for me to say something like 'Just kidding', but that never happened. I didn't tell lies then, and I don't tell lies now. After the short silence, I looked up to him, his green eyes were staring right into mine, I'm not sure if it was with wonder, confusion, or both, but it was most likely both.

"That's really cool. What's it like, being a mermaid?"

I shrugged.

"I guess it's alright, except when I'm sitting here all alone."

"Oh. Why don't you have a tail or anything?" He asked me, looking over to my legs.

"I do have a tail." I told him. "But only when I want to have one. They can turn into legs. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to go to school or anything."

Even as I explained, he didn't seem to completely understand. No one did, really. Sometimes they would think I was telling the untruth. People would call me names or stay away from me at school.

"Well, it's really nice to have a mermaid-boy as a friend."

"Friend? But...I just met you..."

"That's cool. Oh, right, my name is Luci."

"Lucy?" I ask. "Isn't that a girl's name?"

"That's what I used to wonder, but my parents told me that when you spell it with an 'i', it's different."

Luci. I tried imagining it with an 'i', and that did actually make it better. I stood from the water and looked at him-after dusting off the sand and mud. He had hundreds of little freckles everywhere, and for some reason, I really liked them. I wished I had freckles. Maybe that would make me seem more...normal. He smiled slightly.

"It was nice meeting you, Luci, but I have to get home before my parents come down here and bug me to go." I began walking off, and he hesitated before following. "...You're a really weird person Luci."

"Ah?" He stopped. "No...it's just that...you never told me your name."

"...Eh, it's Sean."

"Sean? Okay. Will I see you later, Sean?"

I hesitated. "Well...I can't exactly say."

"Hm. That's alright then." He turned. "Bye, Sean!"

"Yeah, um...bye."

I was actually hoping it wasn't the last time I'd see Luci.