Give New Life to Thee

May 31, 2011
Roar of Thunder,
Slash of Sea,
Heart’s Desire,
Give new life to Thee.

Open your Eyes,
Hear my Plea,
Grant my Wish
To be Queen of the Sea.

Skies of Heaven
Soaring free
The Power of Lightning
I pray you give me.

It was a poem I’d written who knows how long ago. Originally, it was going to be a story for a book or something when I was older. However, as I grew up, the words faded away along with the rest of my dreams. The ones that had died when my mother did.
My name is Molly Wakefield. I am 18 years old, going on 19. I lived in the mountains of Washington State for most of my life with my father. Mom died when I was 9, in a blizzard around Christmastime. Daddy hasn’t been the same since, and neither have I, to be honest. I expected it to wear off after a year or two, but my heart still isn’t completely healed. Daddy tried, but Mom was half of the world he lived in. (I was the other half) He never healed. Not until he met Chrissy.
It was actually my fault he met her. She had been visiting our area for her job when I ran into her at the drug store. I told her about my poor father, and she told me that her husband was dead as well. The idea sparked, and I invited her over for dinner. I guess you could say things got better after that. Chrissy lived in California on a yacht, so she wasn’t used to the mountains and being so far from the ocean. Daddy helped her by taking her skiing and giving her a tour of the town.
It was perfect! They were so into each other, I thought for sure he’d remarry and we’d all live up in our cozy little cabin on the mountain as a happy family. And I was right! He proposed to her right before she left, and she cried and accepted. I was overjoyed! Chirssy was so nice, no like most stepmothers. She actually understood me and we got along well. It was the perfect ending.
Well, almost perfect.
About a week after the proposal, Daddy told me that we’d be moving down to California with Chrissy. Not only that, but she had a son! I was so angry! I didn’t want to move. That wasn’t part of the deal. And I definitely did NOT want a little brother! Not this girl. No, no, no, no, NO! But I didn’t really have any say in this, so by the end of the month, we were out of our cozy little cabin and heading down to California.
Most people are excited to move to Cally. I wasn’t. Mainly because I just wanted to stay in Washington my whole life. Secondly, I had to leave my friends and my boyfriend, Chance. He was really cool and cute and treated me like a goddess. Now I’d have to put up with all the hotshot surfer dudes and my stepbrother, Noah. Whoop-de-do.
I’d never been to California before, but my friend Tiffany goes there every summer with her family. They have a beach house there. I prayed that Chrissy’s yacht was located somewhere near there. While I was at it, I prayed that Noah wasn’t a total loser and at least looked decent. I didn’t want a gross, geeky younger brother with a pimple face and lame object he collects as a hobby.
The trip took an entire day! I just sat in the car and listened to my ipod until it died. Then I was forced to find some other form of entertainment, which wasn’t hard. I drew for a bit, then as it got dark, I fell asleep.
When I woke up, I was on a bed. My head felt dizzy and I let out a groan, looking at my surroundings. I was in a cramped little room with a circle window. On the walls were posters of a bunch of rock bands and celebrities, including one of Katie Perry that made me embarrassed to be a girl. Clothes littered the floor and a huge lava lamp was glowing on a dresser to my right. The smell of the room wasn’t too bad, but still needed some Frebreeze or something.
I sat up and whacked my head on the bunk above me. I hadn’t seen it there. Something moved on it and made a squeaking noise. A head came down over the side and stared at me. My stepbrother, Noah. I could tell just by looking at him he was a surfer dude. His hair was ginger, and looked like it’d been in the sea recently. His skin was tan and his brown eyes starred at me creepily. His expression was blank.
“You okay?” he asked. Baritone voice, with a California accent.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I rubbed my head. “Are you Noah?” I already knew the answer, but I wanted to be sure I was right.
“Duh.” he disappeared back up in his bunk. “And you must be my step dad’s girl.”
“My name is Molly.” I told him matter-of-fact. I crawled out of the bunk and stood up to stretch. I was still in my clothes from yesterday, so I decided to change. I grabbed my bag and turned to Noah. He was lying shirtless on his bed with Bermuda shorts on, read a magazine.
“Do you know where the bathroom is?” I asked. “I have to change.”
“Out the door to your left.” he said, without even looking up. I rolled my eyes and thanked him. Once I was changed, I went to find the kitchen for breakfast. No one was out there. I went up on deck.
It was like nothing I’d ever seen. The ocean glittered in the bright, warm sunlight. The sails were white and the deck swabbed and polished. There were seat on the front of the boat. and the smell of fish and beach was everywhere. A lovely breeze came and made my black hair dance softly around my face. I rolled up my sleeves and walked over the edge of the boat. I could see fish below, zipping around left and right, as if looking for something.
“What are you doing?”
I turned to see Noah standing in the doorway, looking at me with a weirded out expression on his face. I sat up and faced him.
“Looking at the fish. I’ve never seen ones like them before--”
“I was talking about your clothes,” he explained. I got quiet for a moment to think of something to say. Of course! I probably looked ridiculous. Who in their right mind would wear long sleeved shirts and boots in California? I hadn’t even noticed how hot I was already. I thought for sure Noah was going to make fun of me, but he didn’t. He actually gave me a half-hearted sympathetic look and chuckled a bit.
“Mum told me you were from the mountains up north, but I didn’t really think about that till just now.” I blushed. “Is that all the clothing you have?” he asked. I nodded.
He let out a sigh and went back down below deck. I got up and followed him. As I did, I checked all the rooms we passed for signs of my father and Chrissy, but all the beds were made and we seemed to be the only two there.
“Where’s my dad and Chrissy?” I asked from the bedroom door. Noah opened a draw and pulled a sleeveless shirt on over his head. Then he went to a small mirror in the back of the room and began to comb his hair back.
“Mum took your dad to find a job. She said to help you with ‘fitting in’ while they were away.” he explained. For a moment, I felt really hurt. Chrissy didn’t think I could fit in on my own? Did she not trust me? Then reality hit me and I gave a nod. This place was as alien to me as Mars. Might as well let him try to help me, since I had no idea what was what around here.
He grabbed a wad of cash on his dresser I hadn’t noticed before and shuffled past me. I followed behind like a lost puppy. I kept my head down and tried to pull up my sleeves. It was so hot outside, it was hard to believe. I was used to a cold climate and wearing lots of heavy clothing. Not to mention I was normally a really popular girl. The nice kind too, that people actually liked. Now, I was walking along a boardwalk with hundreds of eyes starring at me and whispering voices everywhere.
Just then, as we reached a refreshment shop, a group of drop-dead gorgeous chicks came out, chatting and giggling like crazy. All were sandy blond and wore tight low-cut tops and the shortest shorts I’ve ever seen. Noah smiled slyly at them and winked. Two of them posed and winked back. “Hey, Noah...”
Then one of them saw me and gave a sour look.
“Who is she?” she asked, like I was some kind of alien bug. I tried to hold my head high, but then they all turned and started laughing at my clothes.
“Is she serious?”
“Going on a trip to Mount. Everest?”
“Those boots SO don’t match anything she’s wearing, either.”
Just when I thought I was going to punch one of them in the face, Noah came and put him arm around me and smiled at the girls.
“C’mon girls, cut her some slack. She just moved in with me from Washington State.” he explained coolly. One girl cocked her head sideways.
“Why would a Lumberjack’s daughter move all the way down to Cally here with you?”
I shot her a death glare. Lumberjack’s daughter? Oh, if Noah wasn’t gripping my arm back, I swear...
“My mom’s getting married to her dad, so we’re stepsiblings, right sis?” he said, smiling down at me. “Yeah...” I said, not taking my eyes off my prey. She rolled her eyes and whispered something to the girl closest to her. Before I could lung at her, Noah steered me away, saying we were busy and that he’d hang with them later, blah blah blah.
When they were out of sight, I unleashed my anger.
“I can’t believe them! Did you hear what the one girl said? Oh, I’ll show her what a ‘lumberjack’s daughter’ really looks like! I swear, if I ever see their faces again-”
“Hey, whoa, calm down, Mally. They didn’t know. Totally innocent.” Noah said. I whipped my head around and starred at him.
“You’re defending them? Do you even know WHO THEY ARE? And my name is NOT Mally. It’s Molly.”
“Sorry, Molly.” he corrected himself, “But I do know them. I even dated a couple of them. They’re just a bunch of hot girls with attitude. There are plenty of them around here.” That made me shutter. More b****y beach bunnies? Great. It was like “Attack of the Clones” or something. I wiped my forehead and fanned myself. The heat was getting to me now.
We kept walking until we were in a tiny boutique between a shirt designing studio and a chocolate shop. It was nice and cool inside, but I was still really hot and sweating. Noah led me towards the back cash register. A pretty brunette was texting on duty behind the counter. She looked up and smiled when she saw Noah.
“Hey, babe.” she said, leading over and stealing a kiss from him. Thoughts of Chance came flooding back into my brain and forced me to look away. It hurt too much.
“Susie, I need you help,” he said. She leaded back and tucked away her Blackberry.
“Whatcha need, sweet pea?” Her voice was soft and heavenly, unlike those other girls we’d just encountered. I eased up a bit. Noah took me by the shoulder again and twirled me around to face his girlfriend.
“Susie, this is my new stepsister, Molly.” I waved shyly. Susie’s smile got brighter when she head the word ‘stepsister’ instead of just ‘new friend.’ She actually held out her hand and I shook it.
“Susan Elizabeth Murphy. It a pleasure to meet you Molly...”
“Molly Wakefield. My middle name is Elizabeth, too.” I added. “Cool.” she replied.
“Susie, do you think you could find some decent clothes for her? She’s been in the mountains her whole life and isn’t well equipped for the weather around here.” He motioned to the outfit I wore and my glance went to the floor.
“Anything for my boy.” she said brightly, coming around the corner and heading to the front of the store. She flipped the sign on the door from “Open” to “Closed” just for me and I smiled.
“She really likes you.” I whispered to Noah. He grinned and nodded, a tad bit of blush swept over his cheeks. He must really like her too.
It took three hours but I basically got myself a new wardrobe. Skirts, short shorts, tennis shoes, heels, bikinis, tank tops, flip-flops and a ton of sparkling jewelry. I couldn’t believe Noah had enough to pay for it all. I stuck my old clothes in a bag and looked at myself in the mirror as he paid his girl.
I’d always wondered what I would look like to be a fashion model from one of those teen magazines, like the one Noah was reading earlier. Now, I knew exactly what I’d look like. My black hair shined and draped gently over my shoulders, instead out pulled back in a ponytail. My arms and shoulders free to feel the sunny air with my legs. Susie had given me some special lotion that made my legs look like silk. Of course, I was really pale and had to be careful until my skin was used to the sun. Noah bought me a pretty sun hat with flowers that matched my hot pink top and flip-flops. He even offered to carry most of my bags back to the house.
Maybe if he wasn’t my stepbrother and wasn’t in a relationship already, I’d ask him out.
I felt so refreshed and reborn. Dad would probably go nuts if he saw how high up my shorts were. The thought made me laugh out loud.
After we dropped off my clothes, we went sightseeing. I’ll admit, I was a bit uncomfortable at first. I was in a completely new environment with a total stranger and no idea how to act or anything. But Noah was such a gentlemen. A bit inappropriate sometimes, but that was a guy thing, and I didn’t mind. I laughed along.
The boardwalk was full of shops, stores and foods. Most of the foods I’d never heard of in my life, but they tasted so good! And as we got farther down, we cam to the tourist area. A huge amusement park was perched on the pier and Noah got us in without even paying.
I hadn’t been on a roller coaster before, so I was nervous waiting in line, listening to the screaming of hundreds of people as they rode.
“Something wrong?” Noah asked, seeing my terror-filled visage.
“I’m not sure about this.” I admitted, “Has anyone ever fallen off?” He laughed.
“Molly, relax. This is going to be fun! I promise.” And looking into his soft, brown eyes, I took a deep breath and calmed myself. I decided to trust him and blocked out the screams until we were next in line. The cart came and people got off, some super ecstatic, other with a bewildered stare on their faces. Most were laughing and telling friends how scared they were the whole time.
The gates opened and Noah led me to our cart. I got in and strapped on my belt. He sat beside me and helped pulled down my handle. Then he started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I snapped.
“You.” he chuckled. “I told you to relax. And if you do get scared, just take my hand, okay?” I starred at him. He starred back with a half-smile. And just like that, the cart pushed forward. I gripped the seat so hard that my knuckles turned white. We were going straight upwards, slowly. As we ascended, I could see the entire pier. The lights of the booths sparkled and gave the whole place a warm glow. Sounds of laughing children and other amusement rides rippled through the evening air all around.
I was so busy looking down and enjoying the quiet view, I hadn’t noticed we’d reached the top. One moment, all was calm and beautiful. The next, we were plumpiting towards the earth at 65 MPH and I was screaming my head off. Noah was laughing gleefully beside me like one of the little kids in front of us. I reached over and wrapped myself around his right arm, still screaming.
We whipped, twirled and flipped around on that thing hundreds of times. It felt like I was riding some wild animal that didn’t know the meaning of the word “STOP!” I was getting a headache. My heart accelerated to a mile a minute, and I closed my eyes, wishing it was over.
Then, Noah took my hand and tried to yank me off him. “Molly! Molly, it’s okay. It’s over.”
I opened my eyes. We’d stopped. I hadn’t felt it, but we had. People were hooting and howling around us with excitement. The rush of the ride had left me speechless. I looked up at my stepbrother. He was smiling down at me. I gave a weak smile back.
“You think you could let go now? You’re cutting off the circulation in my arm,” he said.
I let go immediately and blushed. I had no idea I was holding on that hard. I apologized ten times, but he only chuckled and told me it was okay. I still felt really bad. Having someone cling onto you like that while your trying to enjoy yourself. That happened once when I was babysitting. I’d tried to take the kids skiing so I could hang out with Chance and his buddies, but those little brats wouldn’t let go of my legs.
Now I had guilt hanging over my head. As we got out and head for the exit, I made my decision.
“Can we go again?”
He stopped and starred at me. I grinned and shrugged, trying to hide my fear. “I kind of enjoyed it. You were right, it was fun. So can we?”
He gave me an expression that told me he saw right through my act. I gulped, but kept a straight face. He sighed and shook his head, heading down the ramp.
“Why don’t I show you the rest of the place first? Don’t want you to miss out, right?” he winked at me. Relief breathed over me and I relaxed. He held out a hand and I took it.
It was like a date the rest of the time, but without us making out or being all lovely dovey about every little thing. He showed me some other rides and bought me ice cream and nachos. I wiped his face when he was done eating and tricked him into winning me a huge stuffed animal from one of the booths. Then I saw where the source of all the music was coming from.
Not too far away, there was a stage with a local band playing some dance music. Couples and friends had all stopped to dance around them like a huge mosh pit. The song was amazing. It had lots of percussion and smooth rhyme to it. I took Noah by the wrist and tugged him towards the party. He didn’t budge.
“C’mon, Noah! Let’s dance!” I turned and smiled up at him. He looked back at me with a kind of uncomfortable look on his face.
“I don’t know if that a good idea...” he mumbled. I wasn’t buying it. I pulled harder and he stumbled forward, allowing me to take him. I cut a route through the mob and stopped right in the middle of it. I let go of Noah and began dancing wildly. He just stood there and watched.
“Noah, what’s wrong?” I asked, finally seeing him doing nothing. He looked at the ground.
“Err, well...” he rubbed the back of his neck. “I can’t really...I’ve never...”
I rolled my eyes. He couldn’t dance, yeah. How many times have I heard someone say that? Everyone who had feet could dance, it wasn’t that hard. So I took his wrists and looked him in the eyes for a moment. We stood there a moment and starred blankly at each other. He had the pretties shade of eyes I’ve ever seen. They matched both his tan skin and his ginger hair. Suddenly he broke out laughing.
“What?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“You have sunburn all over your face.” he jeered. I felt my face. I did have sunburn! I felt like a freak now, and started looking around at everyone. Had anyone seen me? Were those girls from earlier around here? I ducked down and covered my face with my hands. How embarrassing! How many people I’d already walked by or talked to? How bad was it?
As my mind went crazy with ridiculous assumptions, Noah laughed even louder. I wanted to slap him and make him shut up before someone looked over at us. Gently, he wrapped his arms around me and whispered,
“Pretend like we’re a couple and we’ll dance our way out of here.”
It was an odd thing to do, but I didn’t want anyone to see me or to make a scene. His idea was my only option. So I hugged him and we swayed back and fourth towards the left, where there was an opening. The music soothed out and people were slow dancing, too. The melody kept a great rhythm. I buried my face in his chest as if swooning over him, so no one would see my burnt face. He laid his head on mine and we stayed like that until we were at the edge of the crowd.
We let go and I took off. He followed after me, calling, “Molly, wait! Come back, where are you going?” I tried to out run him, but he was too fast. He grabbed my shoulder and swung me around by the railing of the pier. I frowned and looked at him with a glare.
“Why didn’t you tell me I had sunburn all over my face?” I cried. He looked surprised.
“Because I didn’t see it before. It was barely noticeable,” he protested. I groaned and turned away. Barely noticeable? This was California! If you had sunburn, people noticed! He began laughing again, which agitated me even more. I knew brothers were annoying, my friends had told me their stories. Now here I was with one of my own, and I understood them all completely.
“Stop laughing at me!” I snapped. I had no idea how to react to this. I must have been doing it wrong, though, because he only laughed harder.
“Look, Molly. Here in California, people get sunburned A LOT. It’s no big deal.” he comforted me. I blinked at him.
“But I thought that Californians were used to the sun.” He laughed again and face/palmed. I really looked stupid now, probably. What was I thinking?
“Just because we live someplace sunny, doesn’t mean everyone is immune to the sun, Molly. That’s like me saying you could survive the cold weather without a coat on,” he pointed out. I hadn’t thought about it like that before. I guess it was just a silly assumption. I hung my head.
“Sorry. I just don’t know what I’m doing. I guess it’s because I’ve never been someplace like this before and I don’t want to look foolish.”
“You already do.” he grinned. I punched him in the arm but he was barely affected. I sighed and he gave me a small hug. It was now that the question I’d been thinking of finally erupted. It had been bubbling up inside me since we first meet that morning, and I felt that now was the best time to ask.
“Why have you been so nice to me lately? I mean, I just met you today and already I feel like I’ve known you for a couple months.” I explained.
“You stereotype everything you don’t know, don’t you?” he said, letting go and looking me in the eyes. I wasn’t sure if I hurt his feelings or not. I just wasn’t sure, and it made my brain hurt. What if I said the wrong thing?
“No, wait, I didn’t mean for it to sound like that! I just thought you’d be more...boyish.”
“So now I’m not man enough?” he folded his arms across his chest.
“No! It’s not that at all! I just didn’t expect you to be so nice and thoughtful. Usually in the movies, the California dudes are hot heads and don’t really consider things and have that ‘Hey, bro,’ accent and--”
“--And I’m nothing like that because it’s stupid.” he cut me off. I slapped a hand over my mouth and we starred at each other. Now I felt truly horrible. I’d just insulted him, his home state, and his buddies, probably. I felt like crying.
“Molly, I’m a surfer because I enjoy it and it’s something I have in common with lots of people. I don’t really have an accent because my parents grew up in Nevada before moving here when they were going to have me. I’m a nice person because that’s how I was raised. As a gentlemen.” he told me in a deep, serious tone. “So what about you? Are you that preppy, stereotypical ski girl who blazes the mountains for a living, driving all the boys crazy with your chill stunts?”
“No.” I whispered. I couldn’t even look at him, and I couldn’t argue with him either. There was such a long silence between us. The rides and music continued, but they sounded so far away. People walked right by us without even noticing or stopping to glance for a moment. They were all too busy having a wonderful time.
“I’m sorry, Noah.”
His hand came up and he wiped away something on my cheek. A tear. I was crying and didn’t even know it. The tear had felt nice on my burnt skin, which might be why I didn’t notice. Then he rose up my chin so I was looking at him. His brown eyes softened.
“Don’t cry. I hate it when girls cry.” he said. I sniffled and pulled myself back together as best I could. He gave me another hug and this time, I hugged back. My friends were wrong about having a brother. At least at the moment, that’s what I was thinking.
“You still up for that roller coaster ride?” he asked hopefully. This time I laughed.
“Sure. Why not?”
We waited in line again, and talked while we did. I told him what happened to my birthmother, Diana. She’d worked late one night and on her way home, she got caught in a blizzard. When she never came back, Daddy went out looking for her the next morning. A huge pile of snow was in the middle of the road. As he and his buddies tried to remove it, they found Mom’s car buried beneath with her still in it. She had frozen to death because the radiator died under the pressure of the snow. Her cell phone had no service in the area, so she couldn’t call anyone. When I was done, Noah waited a moment before telling me his story.
“My dad grew up in Nevada, but always dreamed of living out on the sea. Mom had the same dream to, and that’s what brought them together. Before I was born, he won a bunch of money off the lottery and used it to buy a boat and just like that they moved out here. He would always take’er out to the ocean on Sundays. I remember once we ran into a herd of whales. I think I was 8. When I was 11, he went out by himself for an evening ride. Of course, a storm came and they never found him. Not anything, not even the remains of the boat.” He paused and turned to the sea. He had the same look my dad the night mom died. He just starred and waited; as if they’d come back any moment and things would go back to normal. It was a neutral expression of longing and lost hope. It made my heart sink. At least I’d see my mother after she died and buried her body. The sea had claimed his father’s life and there was no way it would give him back. What a horrible feeling that must be.
“I would sit up on deck for nights with mom, just waiting and watching.” he continued. “It was the worst year of my life. Mom never did fully get over it. I don’t think she ever will either. Sometimes I catch her come up on deck and stare at the horizon beyond the sea. I can’t do it myself anymore. It hurts too much.”
I was going to say something, but just like that, we were piling into the carts and strapping ourselves in. People around us were so happy. They were ready to get on this ride. They had no idea that the two of us had just talked about something we had dared not speak of in years. At least that was my case. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d told someone about my mother. Maybe I told Chance last. I can’t remember.
Once in, I laid back and sighed.
“You know, they say bad things happen for a reason.” I took a pause to see his reaction. He turned to look at me blankly. I went on. “Maybe this is why both our parents left. So we would meet.” I used the word ‘left’ because saying that they died would rip open old wounds in my heart. And that was something I could not bear again.
He smiled half-heartedly. I smiled back. In that instant, something happened that nobody but us could see or understand. A bond I guess. And it was the thing that we dreaded and regretted the most that brought us together. How’s that for irony?
The ride gave a jolt and we started forward. This time, I kept my eyes open the whole ride.

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