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My brother and I both wear shark tooth necklaces. It’s not very special is it? You can get one of these necklaces anywhere, but it’s not the necklace that’s special to us, it’s the story behind it.
I grew up near the Ocean, it was a small town, but I loved it. School wasn’t far from home, and there wasn’t much homework. I could go swimming anytime I wanted, the only rule to this, that my parents had enforced, was that if I was going swimming in the ocean, I had to go with my brother. I guess they figured that I had to convince my brother to go with me, and that two kids were more responsible than one. We really didn’t have any rules in the house, my family has always been laid back. My parents let us do whatever we wanted, but would give an occasional scolding anytime any of us got out of line.
My family has always lived near the ocean, we’ve always loved the water. We’ve gone sailing numerous times, and honestly it was to the point that by the time I was 12, I could sail the boat myself. I felt at home on the boat. Fishing and sailing became more habit than anything. I had grown into the mindset that the water couldn’t hurt me, that it was my friend. Sometimes it was but I needed to always remember what my aunt told me. She told me, when I was 5, that “The ocean doesn’t care about you. If you’re lucky, you might get good weather, the right amount of wind, and overall just a perfect day. But Aubrey, it’s not always going to be like that. The ocean does what it wants, and if you’re not careful, the ocean is going to eat you up.” That last line was harsh on me, as a 5-year old. I had nightmares thinking about the ocean literally eating me up. But I still felt safe in the boat.
I truly think, it was around the time I was celebrating my 17th birthday, maybe 16th, that I truly learned what my aunt had meant. My birthday’s in July. It’s July 17. July, my personal favorite month to go sailing. A few weeks after my birthday has past, near the end of July, I was getting really anxious. The month was almost gone and I hadn’t gone sailing all month, all summer even. I needed a relaxed trip and so did my brother.
My brother’s name is Jayden, and we’ve always been close. He’s 3 years older than me, and he’s always been for me. We’ve never had one of those classic sibling relationships, and we’ve never really fought, at least in terms of major fights. I asked Jayden if he wanted to go sailing with me. He was more than happy that I asked, he later told me that he was planning to anyways. We told our parents we were going out for the day sailing, they had no problem with it. We brought some fishing rods, life jackets, towels, basically everything we could have needed. From there, the next day, we loaded the boat and sailed into deep water.
We stayed near the coast for at least 3 hours. We stopped the boat where we could still see coast, and there we really did our swimming. It was deep enough to be able to swim but definitely not a good area to fish. After swimming, we played a few board games, and we dried off, ate some food, and sailed farther away from coast so that we could find a good place to fish. We had a pretty big boat, in terms of sail boats. There was lots of space, and it was definitely the right boat for our family.
Once we reached one of the more common areas for my family to fish, we got our supplies out and set everything up. There wasn’t that much wind, and it was a very sunny day out. A perfect day, that’s what it was. We ate our lunch and talked. We chatted for a solid 2 hours. It was around 5 in the afternoon, that we noticed the weather was changing.
We quickly moved. We were trying to reach a safe coast as fast as possible to seek some shelter. If there was anything my family has taught me, it would have been to move once weather became bad. Jayden and I got as far as the tree we used to swing off and jump. We were caught in the storm. It was luckily just a thunder and rain storm. There was no lighting but these change of weather brought a lot of wind. The waves and rapids gradually became more intense and we needed to get to a coast. We hurried, we rushed, we panicked. We needed to find a way to get to a coast and find safety, but we were stuck in open water.
Jayden decided that it was best just to keep on trying to go in the direction of coast. I figured we might as well. It was the nearest coast in any direction, and if we could see it, we could swim to it, if it came down to that. Jayden took control of the ship while I tried to get help. We had brought our phones, but they all had less than enough battery and there was no service. The safest thing to do at the point, was to put on life jackets.I put one on myself, and tossed one to Jayden.
Jayden fell. He fell when a huge gast of wind and water sprayed onto the deck, and when he fell, the ship almost switched directions. I got to it in time, to stabilize it and set it straight. Here, we switched positions. I took control of the sail. I remember thinking we were so lucky to have a ship with a motor in it. I yelled towards Jayden, telling him to get the motor.
“Aubrey, boat’s running!” Jayden yelled.
“Shore, should we try to find another coast?”
“No, I don’t think there will be another one for miles,”
“So back home?”
“Yeah. Jay, trim the sail,”
“It looks fine to me,”
“Luff’s really loose,”
Then, we saw lightning. We saw lightning and we rushed.
“Jay! Boat’s luffing!”
“How ‘bout down?”
After he was able to fix everything, we pushed the boat to its max speed. Finally we escaped the storm and we could see shore.
Jayden fell. He was on the tip of the boat, trying to direct me in cause there was sign of shore, and he fell into the water. He didn't fall straight into the water, but he was near the boat. I panicked. The cold water might have done a lot to his body and mind. I stuck out my arm, and while I was passing by, he grabbed on. This is why you wear life jackets.I was chained to the boat,, as an extra safety. I see the sail and rushed over, to pull him over the end of the boat. He was able to get over the step, and into the boat. I helped sit him on of the seats, and gave him one of our towels from the swimming trip. Then I sailed to shore.
Our parents weren’t home, but it was only at home that I noticed that Jayden must’ve cut himself on the boat when he fell. His legs were covered in scratches, and there was a large cut in his left leg. Jayden was freezing and he was barely conscious. This was probably not because of the cold, but rather the salt water and shock. There wasn’t a hospital for a few miles, and I wasn't allowed to drive yet.
I rinsed his cuts and wound, and bandaged them. I gave him a gallon of water, and carried him to his room for some rest. I don’t remember what happened next. But when I woke up, both Jayden and I were in hospital beds and hooked up to wires, and tubes. I really don’t know the severity of our injures, I wasn't even aware I was injured. But I do know I woke up feeling the worst I’ve ever felt in my life.
My aunt later gave us the necklaces, and told us what actually happened while both of us were unconscious. We were rushed to the ER. Jayden had something in his leg that was almost infected, and I had more injuries due to where I fell when I blacked out. My head was bleeding, and I had cuts on my stomach and thighs. That would explain the headache that I woke up with.
I was given that necklace, and I wear it close to my heart because I go sailing every year, still. I go sailing every year with my brother. I wear the necklace because it represents being able to overcome my fears. Going through this, both me and Jayden found it very hard to sail again. But we did it. I’m overwhelmed with emotions every time someone asks about the necklace, but I make it short and simple.
“I wear my necklace for a different reason than he does. If you want to know, you’ll have to ask him yourself,”
My brother wears his necklace for me. Somehow, he always thought my injuries were worse than his. Maybe it’s just because he’s protective. He wears his necklace to make sure we are always close. He wears his necklace to make sure the two things he wants close, are always close, me and the sea.
The reason people ask about the necklaces, are because they look out of the ordinary. They are shark teeth, polished. They have gold spirals surrounding them, and they have both of our names engraved in the back of each one. In the front, there is an engraved shape. My aunt never told us what it meant. I think it’s the wave, that keeps both of us safe while we’re at sea. Delusional? Maybe. But I believe it.