Riptide

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Chapter 48

Ice cream, visiting my old teachers again, meeting my favorite actress, Kora Bonomo, taking pictures on the roof of the white house, flying as fast as possible in a pattern to create greetings in many different languages across multiple deserts simply to mess with the locals, walking around on my hands, flying across the ocean, landing in Europe, standing at the very top of the Eiffel Tower, walking along the Great Wall of China, creating and leaving strange ice sculptures using the water of famous lakes, flying to the North Pole to check for Santa Claus, eating at a bad restaurant and leaving one hundred dollars of a tip, walking into a grocery store and making everyone there poop their pants, accidentally pooping my pants because I let my hands down, getting new underwear and cookies, standing on top of the small structure at the center of the pentagon, flying around outside the windows of my parents’ work buildings, and watching my sister crush the males on her team during football practice from the top of the stadium lights. These were the last few things on the list of things I wanted to complete before I died. We completed each one of them, laughing and giggling the entire time as if nothing was going to happen. “This is what life is,” I thought. It was something about doing the things I never thought I could do that really made me think. I knew life was going to end. I knew it had to, otherwise it would end for so many other people, but still, I didn’t want to leave. I wasn’t ready. There was still so much I wanted to live for. I wanted to graduate from high school. I wanted to go to college and get some strange job. My favorite words of Albert Einstein rang at the back of my head. “Learn from yesterday,” I thought. “Live for today, hope for tomorrow,” I recited. That was all I could do. Learn from yesterday, live for today, and finally, to hope for tomorrow. “Hope for tomorrow,” I repeated.

“Wow,” Zuri said, looking down at Charlie running about in her number twenty-six uniform from where we sat on top of the stadium lights. “I see where you get your… nothing from.”

I laughed. “Yeah,” I said distantly, thinking of the first time I watched her score a touchdown. “She’s really intense.”

“I’d hate to be the guy on the opposing team,” Zuri smiled. I agreed. “If anyone has ever wondered whether or not football could be played by girls, I would love to see their faces when they run into her on the field,” she said and there was a moment of silence as we watched Charlie’s practice end. I watched as she carefully brushed off her uniform of the dirt and mud and pack it away while she went to clean up in a locker room separate from that of her teammates’. I waited for her to come back and look up at the sky with one single star in it, her eyes filled with hope. For a moment, her eyes laid on me. She glanced away. I knew I had less than a second before she looked back and saw me. I grabbed Zuri’s hand and hopped into the air. I dove onto the roof of a different building before she looked up at where we were once more, almost in slow-motion. Seeing as I wasn’t there, she sighed and walked off of the field. I watched with tears in my eyes as she opened the door to my mother’s car and got in.

“I’m never going to see her again,” I mumbled, trying to bring myself to understand.

Zuri noticed. “Come on,” she said. “We have to be two states away before the sun goes down,” she paused and looked at the quickly-sinking sun. “That gives us like half an hour.” I nodded and took her hand. “Plus,” she said as we jumped into the air. “I have something to show you when we get there.”

***

“Boom!” she yelled. “I was right, that jet didn’t stand a chance,” she said as we landed and the small aircraft which had lagged behind the entire flight finally passed us and continued to fly to its destination. I giggled as she took my shoulder and began to lead me up the mountain on foot. I had almost forgotten what it was like to walk for so long. Hikes now seemed pointless if I could simply glide to my destination, arriving faster than if I had gotten there with any other form of transportation.

The cool, snow-covered wonderland slowly shifting as we made our way to the top, the air growing thinner with each step. Despite the overwhelming desire simply to fly up to where she was taking me, I enjoyed myself, the aching feeling in my feet subsiding as my excitement slowly began to replace it. Zuri looked over at me and asked if I was okay.

I laughed. “Yeah,” I said. “I seem to have grown accustomed to a life of flight instead of walking.”

She chuckled quietly. “Well, you and your transportation-snob feet are almost there,” she said. “Just a little longer.”

“Just a little longer,” I repeated to myself. The words were now imprinted upon my soul and played on repeat at the back of my head. “Just a little longer,” I thought as Zuri stopped for a moment and searched the area around us. I quickly realized that we had reached the top of the mountain. I laughed and looked at the beauty which encased us. How the deep jade-green grass floor blended wondrously with the patches of daisy-white snow which hadn’t melted from the last snowstorm. I sighed sadly at the thought that I was only now seeing the world clearly, and I was going to die the next day. Zuri stepped almost silently behind me. I did my best to act as though I hadn’t noticed, knowing it would ruin whatever it was that she was doing. I smiled at her innocence and looked down at my mud-caked, scuffed, hole-ridden black and white high-top Chuck Taylors with pink edging, trying not to think of where I might be in just a few hours.


The world went black. A sigh from behind me exposed the perpetrator. I reached for the cloth material which now darkened my world but was swatted away. I sighed and decided to play along. I waited for a moment in silence, listening to a quiet rustling in the shrubbery surrounding me as Zuri seemed to search for something.


Finally, I heard Zuri walk up behind me, her breath heavy from searching. She opened some kind of box and picked up a small string-like item. The sound of a dropping chain told me that she held a necklace. I smiled warmly at her kindness. “Oliv,” she whispered as she picked up my thick midnight blue hair. I put my hands where hers were so she could put the necklace on me. I listened as she unclasped the necklace and brought it closer to me. “I’ve always wanted a sister,” she told me as the cold metal chain brushed against my neck gently, sending chills up and down my spine. “You know more about me than I think my parents ever did,” she laughed nervously, untying the blindfold. “I’m not usually the kind of person who goes around telling random people her sob story,” she told me, her voice beginning to waver. “You just have something about you that makes me want to spill my guts to you while also hoping that you never leave my side,” Zuri told me as the blindfold fell to the floor. “And for that,” she said, taking my hand and leading me over to a clear puddle of water. I looked at the beautiful sapphire blue crystal necklace and wrapped my arms around her with silent tears streaming down my face. “For that I would like to call you my sister,” she whispered.

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