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“Breaking news, this just in, a twelve year old girl swimming off the coast of Top Sail Island, North Carolina, just been bitten by a great white shark. At this point, it’s a fifty, fifty chance she will make it.” I look up at the T.V. in horror. I turn to my mother to see her reaction of this. She just continues folding laundry beside me.
“Mom?” I say in a trembling voice. ‘Thats where we're going in July right?”
“Yes, we're leaving in about twenty days.”
“But it's dangerous, see. I-I’ll show you, re-rewind the T.V. real quick,” I stuttered.
My mom stopped folding clothes and said to me, “shark attacks rarely happen, there's no need to stress over things like that.”
“Alright,” I responded with incredulity.
How could she be so clueless, I know danger when I see it. The ocean is a deathtrap, waiting for innocent children to wander in. What about the ever changing tides, slowly I will drift away and away, eventually the saltwater will force its way into my lungs, and I'm never to be heard from again. I haven't even been to middle school yet! I still have so much to live for!
My mother sees my frightful eyes and says, “come over here, I have something to show you. See, the last fatal shark attack was in 1978. It has been 40 years since that attack, and not a single person was killed by a shark bite.”
Maybe my mom was right, maybe fatal shark attacks virtually never happen. The website even seemed legitimate because it ended in dot-org. Wait! What about the shark attack injuries? The movie “Soul Surfer,” she might have lived, but she is missing an entire limb. I don’t want that to happen to me. I remember watching the movie “Jaws,” there was so much gore that I had to look away in fear. Should I fake being sick before the trip? Should I hope my mom forgets me at home like the one kid in the movie “Home Alone?”
“We're here!” My mom said excitedly.
I just smiled in response. However I still dreaded the moment when my mom asks me to go swimming in the ocean with her. Mom to my dismay, my Michael Phelps of a mother already planned on us going swimming in the ocean right away. Then and there I started counting down the minutes I still have left in this world.
“I'm just going to stay up here!” I yelled to my mom who was already in the ocean.
With a disappointed look on her face, she swims to shore and and asks me, “what are you doing up here? Why aren't you going to swim?”
“I'm just tired that's all,” but it was an obvious lie, it was only two o’clock in the afternoon.
In a playful matter, my mom pulls my arm to the ocean urging me to swim. “How about this, we will take one step at a time until you feel uncomfortable then if you want, you can go back, deal?” I nodded yes in response, still feeling a little skeptical. The first wave crashed against my ankles leaving my feet to slowly sink into the sand which was kind of cool, then at my knees, I got used to the water which felt refreshing. By the time the water started crashing against my waist I was ready to head back, in fear of the deadly tides and sharks. By the time I looked back at the shore, my mom tackled me and I fell on my back and sank underwater, accepting my inevitable fate of drowning, but by my surprise there was no fear, no worries, just pure fun. As I surfaced I couldn't help laughing. The waves crashing on my body was a unique feeling, one that I never experienced before. The ocean acted like a friend to me at this point, showing me that once you overcome your greatest fears, they can actually lead to the best times of your life.