A Test Of Friendship This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   As I looked back towards the docks, I could see Mrs. Shea taking Amy's and my picture. The waters of the harbor were gray, cresting with salty white foam. Overhead, the seagulls encircled the mast of Amy's small turnabout, their cries mixing with the crash of the waves on the shore. This was the first regatta I had ever been in, but for Amy, an experienced sailor, this was one of many. Although I was only a crew member, I felt both nervous and excited. Around the boat were friends from the Medford Boat Club, also in the regatta.

It seemed like an eternity before the race started. Back and forth we sailed through the waters of Hingham Bay, waiting for the starting horn, chatting about various topics, cracking jokes and laughing as much as we could. When the race began, the Shea's boat, as well as others, puffed ahead, leaving us in fourth place. Although we hadn't rounded the first buoy yet, I was beaming with pride as I secretly imagined my mother's surprise when we came in first.

Over the stern of the boat, I could see the billowing spinnakers. Their colors of green, yellow and red danced across the grey sky. Jellyfish floated through the water like gelatin.

"Kelly! Yo! Kelly! Stop daydreaming - pull in the sail! It's luffing. No, that's too tight. Let it go to the corner of the boat. There! Perfect!" exclaimed Amy.

Promising myself I would pay more attention, I braced the mainsheet in the cleat and looked ahead. The triangular orange buoy floated fifty yards before us, like a giant Dorrito. I knew we had a few minutes before we reached it, so I began to pull my hair, already sticky with salt, into a ponytail. Suddenly Amy yelled again, "Quick! Pull in the mainsheet!" As quick as I was, I wasn't fast enough. The boom swung over and hit the buoy.

"Great! This is just great! Now we have to circle the buoy again," scolded Amy.

"Sorry," I mumbled How many more mistakes would I make? As we circled the buoy again, I pulled the boom in as far as I could, determined not to let the same thing happen twice. The boat came to an abrupt stop. Amy just looked at me. I continued to pull the sail in.

"What?" I asked timidly.

"What are you doing? Didn't you notice that we're not going anywhere? Don't pull in the sail; let it out to the corner of the boat! I knew I shouldn't have brought a crew! Give me the mainsheet," Amy commanded.

Around the buoy she steered the boat. But by now, we were 23rd of 25 boats. Biting my lip, I stared hard at the cold waves lapping the boat. I realized that all of this was my fault, and that Amy had every right to be angry. I only hoped that she would forgive me.

When the race was half over, the wind died down. Along with the 24th, 25th and 22nd place boats, we sat there just floating. After fifteen minutes of silence, Amy said, "Sorry, Kel, I didn't mean to blow up at you like that."

"Huh?" I was surprised to hear her say that. "Oh well, I should be the one who's sorry. It's my fault that we're stuck out here."

"It's only the first race; there will be others," Amy said.

"Friends?" I asked.

"Friends!" she replied.

Although we never placed in any other races, Amy and I kept our friendship and our sense of humor through it all. To this day, we always have a laugh about that race when we see each other. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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