Chapter 2:

Sage Wisdom

Help! I'm a Single Mom Falling for a Tentacle Monster


I swear rambunctious three-year-olds have a built-in sensor that helps them disrupt anyone trying to think through anything significant that happens. Sammie sprinted through the door, putting my leg into a vice grip of a hug.

"Sorry we weren't here to help put away groceries. You may have noticed Sammie has a bit of pent-up energy today." Dinah followed through the door at a far more reasonable pace, leaning on her walking stick. While no one would know exactly what to do if they had a date with a tentacle monster, seeing as how no one knew they existed until recently, she would be the person I trusted most to come up with a solid answer.

"Sammie, do you mind playing in your room a little while so I can talk to Momma?" She signed to him as she spoke and I swear my jaw fell to the floor. Dinah was the kind of woman who had more wisdom and experience in one of her single silver hairs than most people had in their entire body but I still couldn't believe she somehow knew I needed to talk before I even said a word.

"But I missed her..."

"I know darling, we'll be very quick I promise. If you're good, I even let you have chocolate milk with dinner."

"CHOCCY MILK! CHOCCY MILK! CHOCCY MILK!" No more convincing was necessary. Sammie unattached himself from my leg and danced in rhythm with the treat-induced chant towards his room.

"Well that was easy!" Dinah looked around conspiratorially before whispering, "Please tell me you got chocolate milk today."

"I'd say you spoil Sammie too much, but I'm just as bad. Yes, I got some."

"Good, now I suspect we need to discuss the unusual visitor I saw floating away from our apartment?  

"I... Uh.... Um..."

Dinah has always been more than just a roommate, she is my confidant, an older mentor to guide me through life, and had my back even when things with my parents got rocky after I had Sammie and left his father. Yet I was still struggling between letting everything that had just happened break past the damn of my lips as I was to seal the cracks letting my words trickle through.

"Wait, it didn't hurt you did it?"

"No, I mean uh, well you see..."

"What did it do to you? Did it cast upon you vivid mirages of such unspeakable terror that they broke your very mind down to the core and you shall be haunted by eternal madness?"

"What? N-no that's not..."

"It didn't wrap its uncountable tentacles across your entire body, locking you into a tight and inescapable embrace to do whatever it so chose to your tender helpless form?"

"Dinah! G-Geez of course not."

"Well what was it then? You know if it did anything to harm you we'll see it pun-"

"Al asked me out on a date okay?!?"

I'm quite positive this was the first time I saw Dinah completely flummoxed in the entire time I knew her. She paused a moment to carefully consider her words before finally deciding on, "Its name is Al?"

"Well, it's actually Aluedethrh'zheh, just Al for short."

"Huh..." She paused once more, her visual levels of confusion honestly beginning to cause me concern. Dinah was not the kind of woman to lack confidence at any given moment. "Forgive me darling, but then why were you as pale as a sheet when we came in?"

"A tentacle monster asked me out on a date!"

"Yes, and Al seemed to be quite the lovely shade of purple, even from the quite the distance I viewed it at."

I rested my forehead on my palms, Dinah just wasn't getting it. "Dinah, a tentacle monster, a thing that is an entirely different species from a foreign plane of existence just asked me on a date."

"You know, you haven't dated anyone since you left Kyle and took Sammie. This may not be the circumstances you imagined, but why not take such a unique opportunity? Scientists around the world would be begging to take your place and who knows, maybe sparks will actually fly?"

There it was. There was the signature sage wisdom I had come to expect, no, needed from Dinah. I hated that she was right, that trying to avoid the need for companionship I had forced myself to ignore for nearly four years now since leaving Kyle while newly pregnant. I was too afraid to even talk about what had happened because I feared just how fragile I might be if that shell cracked.

"Dinah, it's really not fair that you get to be right all the time."

"If you want to see me be wrong, you'll have to get me onto some new-fangled millennial trivia show about who's famous on TikTok or the like." Dinah put on an accent to try and sound even older than she was. It was too perfect, I burst out laughing.

"Now, what kind of date were you asked on? I admit I'm curious as to what tentacle monsters would enjoy going out and doing."

"Well, Al said it'd be here next week to try and help me with groceries next week..."

Dinah looked as though she were a bottle of soda that someone had dropped candy into before tightly placing the lid back on, ready to explode in a massive stream of carbonated science at a single moment.

"How are you so capable of making a mountain out of a molehill?" She plopped into her favorite recliner in the living room, letting her head lean back. "A kind neighbor-"

"That is a giant floating ball of tentacles."

"Yes, that is a giant ball of floating tentacles, why does that make a difference? Offered an act of kindness to be helpful towards their neighbor. That doesn't count as asking you on a date, and before you say it, no it doesn't count just because there is a set date when an activity will occur. Going on a real date is different."

My arms were crossed and I hate to admit it, but I was pouting a bit. Maybe I had just wanted to feel a bit desired after being out of the dating scene for so long, but Al had... Oh yeah! "Well, Al said it saw me bringing in the groceries by myself every week. That means he's been watching me for a while. You don't do that unless you're interested in someone, right?"

"Or unless you're a being from another realm stalking its prey which you hope to bring back into your evil lair to-"

"Oh come on, you know as well as I do that tentacle monsters aren't like that."

Dinah looked extremely pleased with herself. "I know darling, I'm merely teasing. Still, no you weren't asked out on a date. However, I think you need to consider if you might be interested in Al if it is indeed courting you. I won't answer that for you, but I will comment that your excitement over simply having someone help you bring in groceries might be a bit telling."

I was about to raise my voice to respond, wanting to fight back against that assertion without really even understanding why, but once more I had a small child running towards me while making signs with his hands.

"Momma! I made a big block tower!"

Dinah gave me a smug look, knowing she won by getting in the last word. I sighed, half in defeat and half in amusement at just how excited Sammie was over his creation.

"Alright, do you want to show it to Momma?


As I had my loving toddler take my hand and start leading me towards his bedroom I tried to plant the seed of a thought in my mind. Do I want this to be something more? Do I want to date a tentacle monster?

Nika Zimt
Taylor Victoria