Last Moment of Summer This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 21, 2010
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“Come on you guys,” Stella cried anxiously while shaking the headrest of the driver’s seat. “There is no way we can pass up a moment like this.” A wild, wanting look gleamed in her eyes through the darkness.

Patrick’s bright sapphire eyes looked in my direction with wonder if we should follow through. My fingers gripped the soft grey seat for dear life. My mind raced of the pros and cons of what could possibly happen. On our way home, Patrick had pulled into the tiny, empty parking lot with no warning whatsoever. Nine fifteen was able to be read on the clock of my phone. My thoughts leaned toward the answer of no, but there was still the slightest hope that we could pull this off.

“Please, please, please,” Stella begged in my ear. Her blonde hair bobbed back and forth in the ponytail on top of her head. “This is my life goal. We’re so close!”

I sighed as I glanced out the windshield trying to find an escape. A man with a white shirt walked into his kitchen across the street. The open home could be seen into by the large bay windows looking out over the water. I watched as he poured himself a bowl of cereal. “But look over there,” I said referring to the large house. “He would be able to see us. He’s walking into his living room.” I sunk deeper into my seat as I watched the man walk into the next room. He sat down with his bowl at his computer in front of the window. A twinge of adrenaline ran through my veins knowing that the chance of him spotting us would increase if we exited the car.

“They can’t do anything if we’re not disturbing anything or anyone,” Stella pointed out.

I glanced at Patrick to see if he would back up my argument at all. I could see by the shrug of his shoulders that he rested in the middle of either side of the situation. It didn’t matter to him whether we followed through with this or not. I wished he would have tried to convince Stella that this wasn’t the best idea, but he wasn’t going to give a yes or no.

“And time?” I questioned, trying to stall.

“Is perfect,” Stella stated blankly.

I took a moment to roll over my pros and cons once more in my mind. I wanted so badly to say no. I was convinced the water was going to be too cold. We hadn’t had warm weather in a few weeks, so the lake was bound to have cooled down. But I was most worried that we would somehow get caught. I had always been the one to never participate in anything reckless or risky. I would have been skinned alive by my parents if I was in trouble with the police in any way.

My brain darted back and forth between sides frequently. “We were supposed to be wet, considering our original plan was to go swimming at the pool,” I thought aloud slowly. My shoulders sank as the thought came to mind. It was just going to be another reason why we should carry on with this proposal.

Stella’s blue eyes lit up. “You have a good point. That wouldn’t be the best to come home without wet hair after supposedly swimming at the pool. My mom would be furious if she found out that we changed plans without me informing her.”

“So are we in?” asked Patrick, trying to clarify.

I paused and threw my head back against my head rest. “Fine,” I said finally after a long moment of silence. There was no way I was going to win this argument.

Stella giggled frantically as she tugged at her shirt. I waited a second before reaching for my towel in the back seat. I began to pull my tank top off slowly, shaking slightly, and a little nervous.

“Patrick,” Stella proclaimed, “don’t look back here, okay?”

He scoffed loudly. “I’m not going to look. Don’t worry.”

As we all covered ourselves in soft towels, Patrick informed us on how we were to go about our plan.

As the arrangements were put into action, I began to reach for the plastic door handle when I noticed a bright object in the distance. My eyes grew wide as I caught a glimpse of headlights coming towards us down the road. “Stop,” I said clearly enough to be heard. Another car followed close behind, only their bright lights recognizable in the darkness.

We all waited in silence, ready to burst out the doors at the right moment. We watched the darkness for another split second, just in case there were any other cars about to pass by. Without any more cars traveling down the road, we flung open our doors and raced towards the dock as quiet as possible. A few giggles from each of us slipped out. We hushed one another, trying to hold our towels as close to our bodies as possible. The chill of the night air brushed against my bare legs. The crisp air filled my lungs as I shook from the adrenaline rushing through me.

“I still don’t know about this,” I said when we stopped by the metal ladder. I still wasn’t certain how this was going to work. Something didn’t feel right. Awkward giggles escaped from my chest.

Stella looked around. “Alright, no one pansy out, okay?” she said. “That goes for you too Sarah.”

I grimaced. “I don’t know,” I trailed off.

“Sarah,” Stella said sternly, staring into my eyes. Her hip shifted to one side, her shoulders dropped, and one of her feet popped out in the direction of her hip. “We are so close. You can’t pansy out. Please do this with me.”

I shut out their words as they continued on with the whispers of a conversation. I still fought the raging battle that would cease to end inside me. Both sides would not give in. They both made perfectly good points. The glowing angel stood on my left shoulder, while the red devil sat on my right, continuing to argue with his forked tongue and mesmerizing grin.

“It’s now or never,” the dare devil told me. “Are you ever going to get a perfect chance like this again? When are you ever going to break out of your shell?”

“Think about your gut instinct,” the angel inquired. “What is it telling you? It’s saying no, isn’t it?”

“Now or never,” the devil echoed into my ear.

“Fine,” I said quietly. Neither of my friends seemed to hear me, “Fine,” I spoke louder. “I’m in. Let’s go.” There was no second thought at this point. I walked up towards them, taking up a spot next to Patrick. A smile grew on both of their faces.

“Let’s do this,” Patrick cheered as Stella began to bounce back and forth. A smile arose on my own lips.

“On the count of three we drop our towels,” Stella said. “No one look. Keep your eyes to yourselves.”

I snickered at her remark. Patrick joined in the giggles. I didn’t understand why she was so paranoid. Maybe it was just me who wasn’t alarmed.

“One, two, three,” Stella said in a calm voice, still with a hint of excitement. I noticed she looked up towards the starry sky. She wouldn’t even glance in either of our ways. “I don’t want to see anything,” she reminded us once again. I simultaneously rolled my eyes. The three of us stood there in the night air, now with nothing covering our bare skin. The three of us glowed under the moon light, our shoulders, hips, and tan lines from earlier summer days exposed. The wind stood still as if it waited for someone to break the voiceless moment. Static filled my ears in suspense.

“Who’s going first,” Patrick asked, cracking the silence.

“Well, I don’t want to see anything, so you should go last, Pat,” Stella said, with a nervous giggle.

I sighed. At this rate we were just going to argue about who would go first and never end up going. At this point I was up for anything. “I guess I’ll go,” I butted in. “Ready?”

My bare feet padded down the wood planks. The rushing air was hitting places it had never touched before. The feeling was off. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, so instead I put it in the back of my mind. There was no turning back at this point. I was the first to leap off the edge into the open, arms and legs flailing. The air echoed in my ears like a wind tunnel. Within an instant, I felt the cool chill from the black water as I submerged below its surface. As I plunged deeper below, my feet contacted the sandy bottom. Instantly I pushed myself towards the surface. I gasped as I broke through the glossy top, not from the shock of the water being cold, but from it being extremely warmer than I expected.

I tried to swim out of the way before one of my friends, of whom I don’t know which, nearly jumped on top of me, but I wasn’t nearly fast enough. After shielding myself from the splash I made my way towards the underside of the dock.

“Oh my gosh,” Stella yelled when she surfaced. She caught herself and quieted down. “Thanks you guys. I love you both. You’re my best friends. I can’t believe we did this. This is so crazy,” she continued to ramble while trying to hide her giggles and excitement.

I stood on top of a large, grainy rock, keeping only my head above the water. Out of the corner of my eye a bright light shone off to the left. “Guys,” I said with warning. “Everyone under the dock. Car!” Panic struck my voice. Of course, there just had to be another car.

We waited under the dark shelter of the planks until the car passed by. Stella continued to go on about how ecstatic she was to fulfill her goal. Patrick and I both hushed her, trying to keep quiet.

“Ladder,” Patrick whispered.

Hastily, I swam as fast as I could, barely scraping the sand with my toes and holding onto the dock for support, before latching to the cool metal. I checked once more for cars, just to make sure we were in the clear. Patrick and Stella waited while I climbed the ladder clumsily, trying to make my escape as swiftly as possible.

“I can’t believe we just did that,” Stella stated over and over in bewilderment as I grabbed my towel to wrap it around my bare body.

I smiled to myself at our accomplishment as I ran down the dock towards the getaway vehicle, sand sticking to my wet feet.





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