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Rose At Sea
I was running out of time. I had limited air and I needed to go to the surface soon. My eyes momentarily closed to try and steady my breath. Rose always told me to think good thoughts when I had moments like this.
I need to get this done. I’ve worked too hard for it to end here.
My eyes closed once again and my sister’s smile appeared. It was the only thing getting me through my journey. Her face brought me back to reality and I swam toward the light above the water. I needed air. As soon as my head broke the surface, I made my way toward my boat and pulled myself unto the dock. My lungs felt as if they were being sucked into a vacuum.
I’ve been stuck at sea for the past three days, and all I could think about was my dead sister. I should be thinking about how to get food or how to get the motor running. I questioned myself as I looked around at the endless, murky brown water. Even if I did get the motor running, in which direction would I head? I wasn’t even sure where I was anymore. Last time I was sure, I was on the waters of Mexico boating back to Louisiana. If only I had stayed awake to steer the boat back on route.
I sighed heavily. I knew if Rose was here, I wouldn’t be in this situation. The motor wouldn’t have failed if she was here and we wouldn’t have run out of food. She always packed extra food on trips, unlike me who forgot all the time. I should have paid more attention to everything Rose did on trips like these. She did bring me on them for a reason.
I may have not watched Rose’s survival skills but I pay attention to her swimming ones. Growing up in California also helped me more than I thought it would. Rose and I grew up surfing in the Pacific Ocean and sometimes even diving. The water was our home and I think that’s the only reason I haven’t died yet. The waves spoke my language, I knew how to survive here. Only for a limited amount of time anyway.
A few minutes ago, I didn’t have to think about Rose or California. The only thing on my mind was finding the right fish. As I jumped off the side of the boat and dove in again, my eyes shot open and looked around. I watched underwater as the small bumpers darted away. They were too fast for me to catch and they had dry meat anyway. I forced my thin arms forward as I swam, my feet feeling heavy behind me. I pushed my body forward.
I didn’t get too far when I saw something slithering towards me. It didn’t slow down or turn the other way like most of the fish.
What kind of fish is this?
As it got closer, I realized it wasn’t even a fish. It was an electric eel. Rose always taught me to stay away from them when we went swimming, they weren’t our friends in the water.
“Avariella, make sure to steer clear of those eels. They don’t play. They aren’t our friends. In the water, the only people we can depend on is ourselves. Remember that Sis,” she had said two summers ago. I didn’t take it too seriously knowing that I would never face a problem in the water without her. But here I was and she wasn’t with me.
The eel got closer to me as I slowly swam to a stop. It now stood three feet away and I didn’t know what to do.
What would Rose do if this was her problem? What would she have told me to do? Swim to the surface? Fight it off?
At this point, I knew swimming to the surface would be the best choice, but my body wouldn’t go. I swam in place, right in front of the eel and thought of Rose- thought of what I should have done the day she died. If only I was there to help her.
“Rose, you’re not going to that party are you?” I asked my older sister as I burst through her room. She was laying on her bed with her back facing the door. As soon as I barged in, Rose shut her laptop.
“Ave, knock next time, would ya?” she scoffed. I shrugged and sat next to her on her black comforter.
“Yeah, I am going. Mike invited me and it’s my last college party you know,” Rose grumbled as she sat up. I sighed heavily. This was the biggest party of the year and things never ended well after a big party. I pleaded with her not to go but she would not budge. Her mind was set on going.
“Fine, if you’re going, I’m going. See you later Row,” I mumbled before rocketing out of her room. This wasn’t just Rose’s first party, but mine too.
I spent the afternoon finding an appropriate outfit. Once I did, I hopped in my car and made my way to the location. No later than 30 minutes , I arrived at the house where the party was. Red Solo cups littered the front yard and toilet paper was strewn across the trees surrounding the mansion. The music could be heard from two blocks down and the strobed lights made me dizzy as I walked toward it. This party was crazier than I thought and I knew I had to find Rose before things got too wild. She was known for having a good time.
As I walked through the door, I could see couples making out and people bumping each other on the dance floor. Each person held a beer bottle or a full bottle of tequila. I spotted Rose as she danced with her boyfriend Mike. She was laughing uncontrollably and hanging on him while he smiled at her. I shoved past people to where they were standing.
“Rose!” I yelled over the music. She turned to me and squealed before lazily wrapping her arms around my neck.
“Avariellaaaaaa! How are youuu!” she exclaimed as she giggled loudly.
“Ro, you’re very drunk right now. I think you’ve had too much fun! It’s time to go ok. We have to get home” I yelled as I held her up. The smile immediately wiped off her face and she pushed me away. She stumbled to stand straight by herself now that I wasn’t holding her anymore.
“No! This is funnn. This is me having fun Ave. Let me have fun. I’m not going home. Like ever! Leave if you want loser, I’m staying here!” she blabbered as she fumbled to form sentences. I looked at her and watched her giggle uncontrollably. It was her last party of the year. It was the last time for her to have fun. So I patted her on the shoulder and gave her a small smile before handing her off to Mike. Rose then pushed Mike away angrily as she stumbled away, probably heading towards the drinks. Mike looked at me sadly before smiling softly.
“She’s just um, really drunk. She’ll be ok. She’ll be ok. Hey, just go alright. Go home. I’ll let her cool down a little before going to get her. I’ll take care of her,” he said before tipping his cup toward me. I nodded before heading towards the door. This party wasn’t meant for me anyways. As I headed out, I looked around the lowly-dimmed mansion once more. Towards the back, I spotted my sister taking shots and squealing happily after every one. I turned away and walked toward my car. She would be okay.
I wondered that the next morning when she didn’t come home. And the morning after that. Until my mom told me the truth. That she had been ok. She had been ok before she drank too much, before she collapsed on someone’s bed, before she was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead because of alcohol poisoning. If I had stayed near her during that party, she would still be alive. Or maybe if I called Mom or told her that I was scared about Rose. But I hadn’t done anything, and that led to her being gone.
This all ran through my head in seconds. Although, by this time, I was getting dizzy and my feet and arms were getting tired from trying to stay afloat. My vision started to get blurry and my head was throbbing. The eel wasn’t in front of me anymore. It had probably caught a crab and was feeding on it.
My body went limp as my eyelids closed. There was darkness everywhere and the waves carried my body deeper into the ocean. I blacked out, but not before seeing my sister’s drunken smile once more.