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I stood on the beach where the Atlantic Ocean surrounded the beach. The wind blew and the smell of salt filled my mind. I pulled out a wooden angel and held it close to me. I thought of how many times I said to my best friend Dakota that we are going to see the ocean someday. I closed my eyes remembering those days.
It was a sunny day, my best friend Dakota and I were sitting along the dock of the Mississippi River. The bright red leaves fell along the calm water and floated down the river, it was the first sign of fall.
Dakota stared ahead, “Carla do ever wish you could see the ocean?”
I looked at him, and then at my fishing rod, “Yeah, I think it would be neat to see to see the ocean.”
He felt a tug on his rail, and began railing in his rod, “Someday were going to save all our money and travel to Nova Scotia and were going to see the ocean.” His eyes were determined.
We loved the waters, growing up on the Mississippi River we grew up to love the water. Through the months I saved my allowance and money from babysitting and put it in a jar that had Nova Scotia on it. I received a hundred dollars for my sixteenth birthday. I put that towards the Nova Scotia trip. Dakota did the same with his money. We were curtained that we’d see the ocean in the beginning of June.
Over the months I started noticing a change in Dakota, he was quieter and wasn’t himself. Then after a month he stopped going to school. I tried numerous of times to call him to try to talk to him, but there was never an answer.
My mother had told me one night that Dakota was sick. To me sick was a cold. But she told me this was different, he was sick with Leukemia. I didn’t understand he was so healthy, what went wrong.
One day I saw him sitting on the dock watching the frozen water. I went up behind him and stood close beside him. He was dressed in a thick jacket. His face was very pale and his hair was losing color.
He said staring at the water, “My parents don’t know that I’m out here right now.”
I didn’t say anything just watched the thick white snow cover the ice.
“I wonder what the ocean looks like in the winter.” He said in dazed.
I smiled at him, but deep inside I wasn’t smiling.
My breather shaky, ”Why you? Why do you have to be sick.” I sniffed, “Your only sixteen and this is happening. Your don’t deserve this.”
Dakota looked at me. His gray eyes seemed so sad and tired, “I don’t know Carla. I really don’t know.” His voice cracked.
He now had tears running down his cheeks. I finally got my voice back.
“Dakota, I have something for you.” I handed him a wooden angel.
This angel was carved by an old oak tree that was in my grandparent’s yard its branches overlapped the Mississippi River. Dakota and I always loved the tree when we were very young. It had to be taken down because it was getting very old. I remember being so sad, but my Grandma had given me this angel to symbolize the tree. An old man named Nipikti had carved it, it was magnificent.
He held it tight in his hands.
I said to him, “It’s a guardian angel, it watches over you. It is carved out of that old oak tree that we always loved. The angel represents strength and courage.”
He smiled like the memory came back to him, his lip began to quiver, “I really need that right now.”
We both stood watching the River in silence.
Dakota had been put on Chemotherapy he was losing a lot of hair, and had grown weaker. He had been to the hospital more and he ended up moving in. Every time I visited him he always had the angel with him. In the month of June I had visited him one day. I knew how much it meant to him to go see the ocean. I brought my jar, I had been babysitting a lot more to earn more for the trip. I had raised over two thousand dollars. I walked into his room he was looking out his window, I whispered his name and he looked at me smiling.
He whispered, “Why do you have that?”
I said to him, “Dakota remember you wanted to see the ocean do you still want to?”
He coughed, “Yes.”
I held his hand, “Then let’s go see it.”
I would never forget the day that Dakota saw the ocean it was like he saw the world for the first time. He stood on the beach for hours watching the waves. I stood away letting him enjoy his moment. His dream had come true he got to see the ocean. I stood beside him. he was smiling, the most I’ve seen him in months. He said to me, “Carla you’ve made me a stronger person by all the hope you’ve brought in me.”
A few months later he had passed, he’d lost the battle to cancer. But he won so much more.
The waves crashed along the shore which made me open my eyes. I held the angel in front of me to look at it. I smiled at it, then set in the sand. I cried wishing Dakota was here the thought of him gone still made me cry. He was a happy go lucky kid that had so much to live for. I stood up to where the angel stayed in the sand.
I wiped my eyes, “I miss you soo much. Why’d you have to go?”
I asked that question every day. I turned to walk away. The sun shone brighter behind me. When I turned around I saw a faint image of Dakota he was healthy his brown hair was shining his skin was filled with color.
A voice said in my mind, “I’ll always be here for, I’ll be watching no matter what.”
Then the sun shone brighter I lost sight of Dakota. When I got my sight back he was gone. When I went over to wear the angel was there was a shell. I picked it up and held it in my hands and looked at the ocean. I thought in my mind, someone once said to me “This life is short and there’s so many things we miss along the way, there is joy and there is pain, there is good and there is bad happening all around us. But each life tells a different story. ”