The Best Days Of Our Lives

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It was a summer, though I'm not sure when anymore. Charlie passed me an icy pole, and we took a seat under the old oak tree in the small cosy park next to the river, like we always did.
"Ugh, I hate this goddamn town." Zack declared. He was about 14, like me, and had huge, blonde hair, spiked directly up, like it was drawn towards the sky. He was a surfer, a talented one too, meant for bigger and better things, and this town was a 40 minute drive from any beaches, so we all kinda got where he was coming from.
"Yeah, Zack, we know, you've only told us everyday since forever." Charlie says, smiling. Her long, barbie-blonde hair hung gracefully from her head, her fringe partially hiding her porcelain doll face.

"It's not just the lack of beaches. This place is so bland. Nothing ever happens."
"I dunno, I find it kinda peaceful" I say in my just-stating-my-opinion tone.
"Yeah, that's because you're bland too. I mean seriously look at you, with your short brown hair, shirt and jeans combo. So boring..." Zack says in his get-a-life tone.
"I kind of agree with Zack, I mean, the last time we did something meaningful was when we made a boat with Charlies dad and crashed it in to the side of Mr. Mars' house on the beach." Belle says, her short black hair bouncing while she spoke. She flicked her long fringe out of her face revealing big brown eyes with heavy black eye liner.
"Thank you! At least Someone gets it!" Zack says loudly.

"You know, I've heard there's an island not far from here, directly to the north, and it has purple water." Charlie says.
"Isn't it just a legend? I've heard that the island only appears once every blue moon." I say.
"Blue moon?" Zack asked.
"Figure of speak Zack. It means only once in a while."
"Nerd." Zack retorted.
"Idiot." I reply, trying to keep the conversation intellectual.
"Lets go." Belle says.
"Huh?" We all say in unison.
"To the island. I bet we can find it if we try...." Belle says.
"Hey.. that's actually not a bad idea. It'd be an awesome way to end the holidays, besides hasn't your dad almost fixed the boat?" Zack asks, looking at Charlie.
"Uhh, actually I think he's done, but he's added a lot of space and got rid of the motor and propeller after what happened last time..." Charlie replies.

"Then it's settled!" Zack declares, standing up and putting on his really-psyched-for-this tone. " We'll go on Tuesday. That cool for everyone?"
Everyone nods, but me.
"What about you Jack? Can't make it that day?" Charlie says when no one asks.
"I don't know. My dad...."
I cut my sentence short.
"Sure, I'll go." I says smiling.
"Sweet" Zack says in his oh-my-god-this-is-gonna-be-totally-awesome tone.
"Woops, I've got work in like, 15 minutes." Belle says.
"Yeah, I'm going to my Nonnas soon." Zack says. "Be on msn tonight and we'll finalize it."
Yes' and nods all around, then we start to depart. A hand grabs my arm and I look down at its' pink and black fingernails.
"Are you sure you're alright Jack? You haven't really been the same since..." It's Charlies voice.
"No, really, there's nothing to be worried about. I'm fine." I yank my arm free of Charlies grip and make my way home. I can't really think about my dad at a time like this, when everyone's making huge plans for all of us. Besides, it's his fault he was put in jail in the first place.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.
It's seven, and no one is on. I start to get kinda panicky, since dad comes home at like, 7:30 and if he sees me on the computer, the results won't be pretty.
It's alright, Zack just signed in. He told me he'll speak to everyone for me. We'd decided to meet under the oak tree, then take the river north until we hit the ocean. From then on, hopefully it'll all be smooth sailing.

Hopefully.

A friend once told me that the best part of an adventure is the lead up, when you're all excited and crazy and ready to rock. I'm here ready to tell him he's wrong. I'm anxious, the bad kind of anxious, when you bite your nails and mess up your hair and eat fatty foods. Once I get dads approval, which won't be approval at all, it'll be a approval disguised as as a beating, I guess I'll be ready to rock, but only because it'll temporarily fix my life. I'll want to enjoy myself, but I'll be dreading going home the whole time.

Whatever.

Tuesday comes, and I've got a black eye.
"Woh, bro, that's a killer black eye you have!" Zack says in his I'm-totally-jealous-of-your-battle-scar tone, staring at it. I touch it and it stings.
"How did you get it?" Bella asks, with a worried look on her face. I just smile and tap the side of my nose with my finger. I never really knew what that signified, hopefully it shut them up....
Well, it worked anyway. Zack and Bella made up their own little stories about how I was trying to save a young girl from thieves and how we'd made passionate love that night, or how I got it trying to rob a jewelery store. Charlie just stood back, with a sad look on her face, because she knew where I got it from. I smiled a reassuring smile at her, and she smiled back. Charlies dad dragged the boat to the river and we all carried the oars. The boat was a huge square. It was really flat with low sides, more resembling a raft then a boat. Zack had a surfboard on his back, but the legend of the island didn't assure us of waves. I don't think he'd forgive himself if he was at a beach with good waves for 2 days and he'd forgotten board, so he bought it along anyway.

"Everyone got their sleeping bags?" Nods all around. "Food?" More nods. "Now I want you kids to stay within sight of the town. If you lose sight........" Blah blah blah. Safety precautions this, emergencies that. All noise. I just want to leave. More nods. Charlies dad leaves us to start ourselves up.
"Let's go!" Zack says in his Jesus-Christ-I-can't-believe-this-day-has-finally-come tone. We pull up anchor and the current pulls us along at top speed. We put away our oars and lay back to relax.
"Look, Charlie's bought a suitcase, and Bella's bought a shoulder bag." I say to Zack silently, and he laughed.
"What the hell would you need a suitcase? What the hell would you put in there?" Zack whispers back.
"Useless things, like beauty products and expensive clothes I suppose.." I whisper back
"Shut up! I happen to care about how I look everywhere! Even on a deserted island!" Charlie says angrily.
"I swear that womans got supernatural hearing." Zack jokes.
"Yeah, she's like a freakin' bat." Bella replies.
"Come on guys, keep it nice." I say.
Zack shoots a oh-my-god-you-just-can't-let it-go look at me. "We're just kiddin', don't be such a killjoy."
I look at Charlie apologetically. She mouths a thanks at me.

"You know, these really are the best days of our lives." Bella says.
"You're right" I say, not really paying attention.
"Aww come on guys. Don't get all mature-young-adults on me. Lets just concentrate on finding this place." Zack says.
"He's right," Charlie says. "and besides, we're about to hit the ocean, so from now on we don't have the strong current of the river to pull us along. We have use the oars."
Groans all around.

"Make sure you don't break a nail Charlie" Bella says in her I'm-more-physically-capable-then-you tone.
"Hey! I can work hard too! I might not be a manly she-devil like SOME of the girls here, but I can pull my weight!" Charlie retorts in her yeah-I-just-owned-you tone.
"Shut up, I'm at least 20 times prettier then you." Bella says in her hah-I'm-not giving-up-yet tone.
"Please... you look like you belong in a Meshuggah music video..." Charlie replies, scoffing.
"Well at least I don't look like the missing 6th member of the Spice Girls!" Bella screams, getting pissed.
This heated discussion went on for 20 minutes before it was stopped by Zack.
"Come on, ladies, you're both babes!"
After that, the insults were directed at Zack.
"Like you can say that! You've never even kissed a girl!"
"Pffft, I've kissed tonnes of girls!"
That discussion lasted us another hour. The whole time I stayed out of it, silently laughing to myself.

Most of the trip we talked about bands we liked, or about how awesome our favourite movies were. Sometimes we just did our separate things. I read in my little corner, Bella sat in the opposite corner to me, mouthing lyrics from Lamb Of God and playing air guitar, while Zack and Charlie rowed. The time came for me and Bella to row and Zack went off to his corner to listen to some Weezer, while Charlie sat in her cosy corner reading the latest issue of Cosmopolitan.

We were rowing for hours when sunset hit and we put down the oars.
"We should put down anchor and rest up " I say after it looked like we won't be finding the island before the sun went down.
"Told you, should have left in the morning, but nooo... Jack's DAD.." Zack says without finishing.
"Shut up Zack." Charlie says sternly.
"No, he's right. My bad." I say, looking down at my shoes. Charlie shoots a you've-got-to-learn-not-to-be-so-hard-on-yourself look at me.
"Ahhh come on bro. You know I was only joking." Zack says. He grins and me and I grin back and he jokingly punches me in the shoulder. We all take our corners of the boat; it may not have sails or a motor but it sure as hell has space. It's a while before I go to sleep. I just lay there, listening to the waves dance around me, travelling across the ocean in their journey, unknown to anyone but us and the wind. I don't know how, or why, but it came to me then. We're not gonna find this island, I thought. It's probably just a story parents tell their kids, or a rumour started by bored teenagers.

I look around me. I look at Bella lying down, asleep with some unknown metal band blasting on her Ipod. I look at Zack spread out on the sleeping bag, snoring and probably dreaming about huge, purple waves he can ride to his hearts content. I look at Charlie, sleeping peacefully, her long blonde fringe falling gracefully over her calm, smiling face. For some reason, I can't feel disappointed. I look up at the starry sky. I know by the end of this trip everybody will be pissed off and tired and fed up, but I can't help but smile. It amazes me how the simple company of good friends can make you feel so much better. I look out at the sea. It tells me that everything's gonna be okay.

These really were the best days of our lives.





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