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Stepping Onto Shore
People say life is hard, life is difficult. We don't know what is ahead of us, is everything for a reason or does life happen as it comes? When challenges do come around, what does friendship mean when it is needed? I learned about this when I was ten years old and a not-so unexpected incident happened.
“Hey, Roberta? ” I gasp between breathes.
“Yeah?” she asks involuntarily, “What do you want do next?”
“I’m not too sure...” I pause a moment.
We have been outside the whole day, kicking a soccer ball, fishing, as well as scavenging between bushes for the chickens and bunny rabbits that often escape from my neighbor’s backyard. Doing this since noon, without a cup of lemonade or moment of rest, we have been been squeezing as much out of summer since school ended. I glance over to the calming scenery of the lake and immediately think of our next event of the day, knowingly Roberta would approve of it.
“How about a trip on the canoe and end our day on the water?”
She skedaddles out of her chair and jogs over to the green canoe.
“What are you waiting for?”
That’s Roberta a simple minded child, always ready for adventure. I brush my knee over the ledge of the deck as I jump to the ground and scurry in her direction. We flip the canoe over and clear the spiders that crawl inside. Using our strength to drag the vessel in to the water, I remember the orange life vests in the shed and race back to get them. I tear through the mess of yard supplies until I see the neon orange color appear in sight. I snatch them from their places and leap from the shed as I take long strides back to the canoe. Roberta, waiting with the paddles at her side, is ready to take leave onto the water. I climb in and hand her a life vest. We clip them on and begin pushing on the sand with our paddles to deeper depths. It’s late in the afternoon but the sun seems to agree with our last adventure as it rests in the sky next to the clouds. Simply gliding through the water made the moments after a long day peaceful. Reaching the far end of the lake at the old baseball field we circle back toward my house. As we near a large patch of land, I hear the clanking sound of Roberta’s paddle as she lays it on the floor of the canoe. The lake is presently being dried up for a couple of weeks to allow residents by Lake Hills to repair docks and the water has become extremely low, sand bars appear in different areas. I turn around when she nudges me with her sharp elbows and chimes into my ear. Her words are inaudible at first so I frown and she speaks again, “Let’s go.” I open my mouth and raise my finger in the air as to detest this random idea, but only to see that she has already made up her mind. Now on the sand of this barren, untouched place she is getting up and out of the dingy, grinning as though nothing ever seemed more exciting than this. She takes of her flips flops and goes into the water to pull the dingy onto the sand bar to make sure it won’t float away when we’re not looking. I pinch my nose as the stench of flies and maggots feeding on the meat inside shells is obviously clear and present in this place. I hold her hand as she helps me onto shore. I take my first step as I try hard not to slip and fall. When we are both safely standing on land, she motions to a large rock where we can overlook the houses that line the lake.
“Why are we here again? I ask still bewildered by this sudden take of action.
“ I want to view the foliage from the lake, I thought it would be different from this point of view. Plus, there are lots of shells and rocks we can examine, it’s an opportunity to see what types of creatures live here,” she replies confidently. That’s a biologist talking, she’s younger than I but still tries to test my knowledge about the world.
“It is kind of nice out here,” I whisper to myself as I clear an area so I can sit next to her.
Our lips don’t move much after that, the silence between us is long and Roberta’s eyes stare across the water to the houses that are still. Her thinking isn’t anywhere near those houses though, but much farther away. She is staring somewhere distant, not on this world but maybe inside herself. I, myself lay back and close my eyes. I don’t know what time it is and time isn’t important in this place. We have nowhere to be. I let my mind drift from one thought to another. This weird feeling that someone is filming us every moment for a popular reality T.V. show keeps popping back into my thoughts. Is there someone watching us? Well, I lay puzzling, that probably won’t happen. I finger through the shells and rocks scattered around me. From time to time, Roberta points out different rocks she recognizes, and describes the patterns she analyzes from the broken shells. We both love nature, that’s something we share. I enjoy her company on this isolated place, and thinking we are the first ones to discover this island is an amusing thought. I chuckle to myself and watch Roberta again. Her feet are now muddy like mine, her hair has turned into a mess of tangles and spots of dirt. As we chat some more about our first few weeks of summer and everything we did together, she grins and laughs. The sun dips overhead, and the sky smolders in to shades of pink and orange. The heat in the air isn’t as thick as it was before, we know it is time to leave. Climbing back into the canoe we drift into the water and paddle as the last sliver of light envelopes into nothing.
When I stepped onto that island, on a summer afternoon in July I had something with me. I didn’t know it at first but the reason I had such a good time on that empty place was because of Roberta. It was a rugged patch of land, nowhere anyone would have wanted to stop and explore yet I still remember our time together and how we relished each moment. Now, we are both in middle school but our bond is still there. The beauty of our relationship is so strong that I didn’t realize it at first. Everything we did together that day was enjoyable because I had Roberta to have a good time with.
I learned that when I ever felt depressed, afraid, or the world could come crashing down on my shoulders I could always go to my island. The sense of tranquility I felt in the middle of the lake as well as the secure feeling I felt when being with Roberta told me something. This friend is someone I can go to for anything. She is my island. Isn’t that beautiful?