Riptide

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Chapter 6

I grabbed a towel and flew down the steps as my mother entered the house. I greeted her and sat down on the couch beside my sister, who was watching an old video of one of her many successful football games as the team’s quarterback. I had no clue what was happening but did my best to accommodate her needs when she pointed to things about the game, telling me what she did wrong and what she did right, analyzing each step, each hand motion, each fall, each pass, she noted everything. After a while, my mother walked down the stairs in her bathing suit and sat beside us as well, all of us awaiting my father’s arrival.

After what felt like ages, he finally walked through the garage door with his swim-suit already on. We greeted him and piled into the car for our sailing trip.

Charlie quickly grabbed her purse and walked outside. “Charlie, get in the car, this perfect sunlight and breeze isn’t going to last forever,” my father said cheerfully as I slammed the car door shut.

As always, we were asked typical parental questions. I answered them with as much detail as I could supply, while Charlie did the opposite, answering each question using one of three words, “fine,” “good,” or “okay” were her favorite answers, it seemed.

After a while, the conversation was derailed and replaced with that of sailing. Once my father began explaining what to do if the boat tipped, I began to tune his voice out. I had heard his speech so many times I could have recited it along with him. I knew it was stated out of love but it grew tiring nonetheless. Finally, the familiar line of horizon against the infinite uncharacteristically clear blue waters appeared a few feet from the road and my heart skipped a beat just thinking of the wind on my face as our large white sailboat hit the sea. We parked in a shaded area, where we removed all of our dry clothes and were left in our swim-suits. We walked down to the beach where our boat was stored. Excitement pulsed through my veins as I helped push it to the water, shouting our thanks to the company for storing our boat and hopping on as the wind began to fill the sail, whooping and hollering as we began to slice through the water, stopping occasionally and allowing ourselves to swim in the cool waters before moving on. The sea was so clear I could see down all the way to the coral reef which laid around ten feet beneath us.


I sat in the front where the waves splashed against my sun-warmed skin and stole the heat away, I didn’t mind. Charlie laughed and screamed each time the cold waves touched her skin. I remember looking up at the clear blue sky as it suddenly became covered in large grey clouds. I found this extremely peculiar but brushed it off, thinking I simply hadn’t noticed the sky fill with clouds.


“We should start heading back to the shore,” my father said to my mother. She agreed and turned the boat after pulling a few of the ropes.


The waves had grown to be mountainous by the time we were halfway to shore and the once whispering panic I heard inside my head was now a roaring scream, but nothing could be done. It was inevitable. My heart pounded so hard I thought I could feel the boat shaking with its rhythm. I knew something was wrong as I watched my mother and father jump back and forth frantically trying to regain control over the large white sailboat but they were no match against the sea’s sheer ferocity. I looked to the sky, hoping to give the sudden change in fate a scientific explanation. I couldn’t offer myself one. One moment, everything, the weather, the sea, the wind, the mood, the sun, even the temperature was perfect. It all lined up too well. I should have known nothing like that could have lasted. The last thing I remember was the absolute terror in Charlie’s eyes as I followed her line of sight out into the sea and saw as the imperious teal wave darted toward us. Instantly, everything changed as I was pushed under the surface. I hit the bottom of the once friendly seaand suddenly, there was nothing.

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