All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The rattle of my phone woke me up with a sudden jolt. I squinted across the room to my phone’s glowing screen. It hurt my eyes to adjust to the sudden bright light. The digital clock on the desk next to it read 2:34 AM.
I contemplated if I should just turn on my side and go back to bed. It was a school night, after all. I had a Physics test I was deemed to fail and a Spanish quiz about a story I couldn’t comprehend. And what person in their right mind would call me in the middle of the night?
My phone kept buzzing… buzzing… buzzing… until it stopped.
I let out a sigh and turned to my side, adjusting my blankets. I’d check my phone tomorrow.
Buzz… Buzzz… Buzz…
“Gosh, this better be good,” I groaned as I flung my comforter off, and slowly shuffled to my desk.
‘Optimus Prime calling…’ my phone read in bright blue letters. I looked at my phone with a cocked eyebrow. I gave the “Accept” button a lazy push and put the phone against my face.
“Ryan..?” I answered, confused.
“Waazzzaaaapp.” I let out an exasperated sigh.
“Ryan, are you drunk?”
“Why do you always ask me that?”
“You still didn’t answer my question.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Why’d you call at two freakin’ thirty in the morning, then? We have school tomorrow.”
“I’m almost at your house.”
My eyes went wide. “Whattt?!” I loudly whispered, careful not to wake up mom and dad across the hall.
“I’M. ALMOST. AT. YOUR. HOUSE. You have ten minutes. Get ready.”
“What the? What for? Did you call the wrong person?”
“No. I’m calling you. BA-NA-NAH. We’re going on an adventure.”
I shook my head as if he could see me. “No. Ryan. It’s a school night. Remember? I have tests tomorrow. My parents are gonna kill me... What if we get in trouble… It’s past curf-“
“Oh shut up. Live a little.”
“You have nine minutes now. Bye. Oh, and bring your camera.”
Bleep Bleep Bloop. He hung up.
I stared at my phone incredulously. ‘Is he serious right now..?’ My conscience knew what the better decision was. I’d just act like the phone call was just a dream and crawl back into my warm bed to sleep four more hours. I’d take my tests, walk the halls, and be in class. I Like nothing happened. Clean, and simple.
Despite my better judgment, and my acknowledgment that I would probably regret it, I changed into jeans and a sweatshirt, tied my hair up sloppily, and brushed my teeth. I opened my window and popped the screen out quietly, stepping out onto the deck. I replaced the screen with one corner left off for easy access when I returned.
I walked around the house to the driveway up front with my DSLR slung over my neck and my phone in my hand. I shook my head at myself.
“Why am I even doing this…? I’m so screwed tomorrow…” I muttered. I let out a sigh. “No turning back now.”
Ryan’s car was one ‘with character.’ His red ’95 Honda Civic DX hatchback softly puttered as he parked on the side of the road. He waved me inside with a grin on his face. I shook my head at him but couldn’t help but smirk a bit back. I gave the door handle an extra tug and plopped in the passenger’s seat. After the rusty clunk of a door closed reluctantly, he slowly drove out of the neighborhood.
“Ryan, where are we going?”
“On an adventure.” He slyly replied.
“No, seriously. Where.”
“I told you. On an adventure. You could get some more sleep if you want. It’s gonna be a while till we get there.” He looked intently at the road. The street lights barely lit up his face, but it was enough to catch the outline of his framed glasses. I looked out the window to see my neighborhood and my house peeking though the trees getting smaller and smaller. ‘There was no turning back now,’ I thought. All I could do was comply and shift myself to lean against the window and doze off to have at least a fraction of the four hours of sleep I’d be losing.
To my surprise when I opened my eyes, we were at a beach.
“Ryan, you still didn’t tell me where we are.”
“Woman, can’t you read? Welcome to Lake Michigan at… 3:30 in the morning” He paused, looking at his dashboard. My eyes opened wide. I was awake for sure.
“But why are we here..?”
“Polar Plunge!” He yelled, dancing a bit in his seat. I looked at him with a glare.
“Yeah! It’s finally spring. It’s like, what, 60 degrees right now? The water’s not gonna be that cold. Maybe in the forties or fifties.”
“Ryan. I’m not a runner like you. I hate cold.”
He chuckled. “I had a feeling you’d say that. That’s why you have your camera. You’re gonna document us.”
“Yeah, the rest of the track guys are meeting us here.” I shook my head at him disdainfully.
“You,” I said, poking him in the chest, “are crazy.”
“Nahhh. We all are.” He smiled. He poked me in the arm, retaliating.
Soon enough, a van rolled into the parking spot next to ours. The driver’s seat window rolled down. “EYYYYYYY” greeted a guy with a head of long curls. “You ready for this?”
The recent pattern of warm weather caused fog to roll in. It felt warm and humid, like a cozy blanket. Dawn was slowly breaking, and the few rays that shone got caught in the dream-like smoke around us.
The guys-six of them- with their running shorts, t-shirts, and towels, jogged to the shore. One by one, they took off their shoes, peeled off their socks, and shirts. Each would call out a hoot or a battle cry and plunge into the water. “All the way under!” one guy religiously repeated. “No exceptions.” No matter how warm the fog was, the water, undoubtedly, was icy cold.
While the guys sprinted, plunged, ran out, and repeated the process, I took the role as spectator and took pictures. Each shot of the rolling waves, and the screaming faces, and the stringy wet hair was set with a light, foggy, angelic glow.
“Hey, let me see some pictures.” Ryan asked. His hair was wet, and goose bumps covered his arm. A beach towel loosely hung on his shoulders.
I pressed a couple buttons, showing him the first picture I took. Every few seconds I pushed the arrow onto the next picture. A drop of water dripped from his hair onto the screen.
“Hey, come on, now.” I laughed, wiping the water off.
“Well so-RRY” he joked. He proceeded to shake his hair even more with an evil laugh. A couple drops landed on my cheek. He took my camera from my hands, shuffling through more pictures. I leaned in, reviewing them with him. The towel on his shoulders dampened my sweatshirt.
“These are sweet.” He said, smiling. I smiled back, looking at the water. The other guys were taking their last few plunges before they change to leave.
Ryan set his towel in the sand.
“One last plunge?” I asked.
“Yup,” He grinned, wide. He set down my camera on his towel, and took my phone from my sweatshirt pocket and dropped it next to it.
“Ryan… What are you doing..?” my eyes wide. I knew what was coming.
“Heh heh heh,” Ryan chucked, evilly. He scooped me up bridal style, charging towards the water. I flailed my arms and legs.
“LET. ME. GO. LET ME GO. LETMEGO LETMEGO!” I screamed. I managed to set my feet down, but Ryan clasped onto my wrist tightly, dragging me through the sand. I saw the trail that my butt was making. Ryan’s friends tagged along, grabbing a limb per person. No amount of screaming, or wiggling, was going to help me. “AGHHHHHH!!!” I blared. With a count of one-two, and not three, I tossed into the lake. It was mind-bogglingly cold. I instantly felt the sharp ice-water seep into my clothes, immersing my hair and ears. “RYAN I’M GOING TO KILL YOU.”
“Oh, crap.” He yelped, already running away. I got up as fast as I could and I chased him, my soaking wet jeans sticking to my legs. He, always up for challenges, stuck his tongue out and ran.
“Damn track guys. They run so fast.” I panted, falling onto the sand. I felt like a sea monster, covered in water and sand and dirt.
The sun was just rising. The colors were breathtaking, with a gradient of fire and the ocean. The fog was barely there now.
“It’s awesome, isn’t it?” Ryan said, plopping down next to me.
“It would be more awesome if you didn’t dunk me.” I said, throwing sand at his legs.
He laughed. “It was fun. You know it. And plus, I brought extra clothes.”
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t know about you, but I knew you were gonna get dunked.” I rolled my eyes at him.
“You- you.. poop head.” I said with a yawn. My fatigue was coming back to me.
“Well, I think we should all head home. “ He commented. He was a bit reluctant. I nodded back at him, my eyes in a droopy state.
“Yeah… One last thing, though.” I said, standing up.
“What’s that?” he asked, getting up with me.
As fast as I could, I grabbed Ryan’s arm and sprinted into the waves. It was one last quick dunk at icy Lake Michigan before reality hit us again. School, the consequences, and the regret all was washed clean from me for those few minutes. It was a baptizing. It was a second coming. A new beginning.
After it all, Ryan and I headed in the car. We didn’t talk about school or how tired we were. He turned up the stereo and drove in a comfortable silence, while I looked at the sunrise, clear and beautiful.