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The Start Of Something New
Lexa walked through the woods; the cold wind biting at her face. She pulled the hood of her jacket over her thin brown hair, wishing she had worn a hat. The sky was darkening quickly; she could see the glow of the moon begin to shine through the trees. She worried she wouldn’t be home in time for Nellie to pull up in their driveway.
Eventually she reached the clearing and began to walk down the wooden ramp that led to the dock. She sat in the middle of the dock, keeping a good distance from her and the frigid water. She was waiting for Olive Devenna to arrive.
Lexa sat for what seemed like hours. She was lost in a day dream; she thought years back to the days when her and Nellie sat on the very same dock she was sitting on now and dipped their feet in the water. Nellie was not only her older sister, but her best friend. Her only friend. When the rustling of branches brought Lexa back to reality, she glanced at the now icy water and shuddered at the thought of what it would feel like on her bare legs.
All of a sudden, Lexa heard a voice from behind her. She knew immediately who is was. Her strong Australian accent could be picked out easily in a crowd.
She shifted her body around and saw the person she had been waiting for.
“Yeah, it’s me. Hi, Olive.” Lexa wasn’t sure if she should stand up and hug her, shake her hand, or continue to sit on the dock awkwardly. She was completely clueless when it came to meeting new people. “What took you so long to get here?”
Olive, on the other hand, knew just what to do. She walked down the ramp and sat down next to Lexa. Her curly blonde hair was in a loose bun, her cheeks rosy and her lips chapped. She wore a dark blue coat-or maybe it was black, it was hard for Lexa to tell with the little light there was- and corduroy pants.
“Sorry, I’m not familiar with this area yet. We just moved in 2 weeks ago. Have you forgotten?” Olive giggled to herself.
“Oh well.” Lexa felt pitiful. She didn’t know how to have a conversation with anyone besides Nellie and her teachers at school, but she was nervously excited that there was a girl her age in the neighborhood for the first time.
“Why did you want to meet here in this cold,” Olive questioned, “you could have come over to my house, if you don’t mind being surrounded by card board moving boxes.”
Lexa wouldn’t say that she had never been to another person’s house besides her grandmas and her own. Instead, she came up with a lie on the spot.
“I like coming here in the late evening.” It was the best reply she could come up with.
Olive went ahead and asked Lexa a question she had been curious about.
“You don’t have many friends, do you Lexa?”
Lexa was shocked by the question. She didn’t understand how someone could ask such a question out loud to a person they hardly knew.
Is it really that obvious? she thought.
“You don’t know me well enough to ask me that.” Lexa replied, all of a sudden very interested in her hands. She could feel her face heating up.
“I don’t have many friends either, not since I moved from Australia.” North Carolina is so different from there, I feel…out of place.”
Lexa nodded her head like she understood, but she really didn’t. How could this gorgeous girl with curly blonde hair and rosy cheeks feel out of place, like she did?
“What do you say we jump in? Olive said, breaking the silence between them.
Lexa looked at Olive, surprised to see that she wasn’t kidding.
“It’s November. That water is freezing cold. No way.”
The words didn’t phase Olive. She began to unbutton her dark blue (or maybe black) jacket as Lexa shook her head and started walking back up the ramp. She was concerned that this Australian girl felt so out of place, she was going to commit suicide by freezing to death.
“Don’t go.” Olive called.
“Look,” Lexa said as she walked back down the ramp toward Olive, “It’s late. It’s cold. My sister is going to be home soon and she’ll freak out if I’m not there. I can’t jump in that water.”
“Why not?” Olive asked.
“I just…I can’t. It’s crazy.”
“I want to be different, Lexa. I want to do something I’ve never done before. I want to start fresh. Be crazy… with a friend, of course.”
Lexa stared at Olive for a moment. “I…I don’t really know…how to be a friend.” She admitted. Once the words were out, she knew she would never be able to take them back. She worried she had said too much.
“You don’t really think about it,” Olive replied, tugging on the laces of her shoes. “An American and an Australian, who would have thought?” Her laugh sounded so happy. So relaxed. So friendly.
“Please, Lexa. A new country, a new friend, a new beginning.”
Hundreds of voices in Lexa’s head shouted no. But behind the voices, she could hear a soft whisper; a soft whisper that said “yes.”
Something took over Lexa then. She unzipped her jacked at kicked off her shoes. Olive reached for her hand, and Lexa took it. She shut her eyes tight when her feet could no longer feel the dock, but Olive kept hers wide open. As the icy water sent shocks through their bodies, it was the wonder and excitement that pumped the adrenaline through their veins. With blue lips and goose bumps from head to toe, the two girls climbed back on to the dock and rushed to their jackets for warmth.
“A new beginning.” Olive said. Her words were hardly recognizable because of her quivering voice.
But Lexa heard her loud and clear. Even though her body ached and every part of her was freezing from the cold water, she never felt warmer inside.
“A new beginning.”
Lexa and Olive walked home, leaving more than a trail of water behind them. They left the two girls they used to be forever wading in the brumal water, never to be seen or heard from again.