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The beach is my home. The waves crashing against the shore calm me. The sunset helps me be at ease. Surfing was my escape. Everything was like that until the deep blue sea turned into the deep red sea.

It was a regular Saturday in Hawaii. I ate breakfast, went to school, came home and did homework, surfed, and ate dinner. By the time dinner was done, there was still light outside. I threw my suit on and grabbed my board, flying into the ocean. The water surrounded me, as I hopped on my board and let my feet dangle. Paddling out farther into the water. I laughed as a dolphin swam by looking at me then diving under. The smell of salt now filled my nostrils, and I could no longer smell the grill at home.

A wave was coming. I started to paddle forward slowly lifting up as the wave caught up. Standing tall on my board, I gently bent my knees and let the sea do the work. I paddled out again, but this time farther out. The house was slightly visible and I could barely see my parents watching me. I sat on my board waiting for a wave. A huge one was headed my way. I started to paddle toward the beach. As the wave raised, so did I.

I looked back at the blue sea, guiding my hand across it. Turning my head to the side, I caught my eye on something. A giant dark figure was headed my way. Then it disappeared. I calmed down for a moment before shooting up in the air.

I was about 30 feet in the air, and the sea looked miles away as I shot down. I sank through the water. Reaching above the surface, I saw a fin heading towards me. I turned around and swam as fast as I could towards the beach. My parents were shouting at me, but I couldn’t make out the words they were saying. That’s when I went under.

I must’ve passed out for a second because I couldn’t breath. The shark had clamped down on my leg. My muscles were shredding by the second. I punched the shark in the nose and it released me. Before long, the shark sunk its teeth into my arm left arm. I was face to face with it. My eyes were burning from the salt consuming my eyes, and I could barely see. I lifted my right hand and started to punch the beast. I felt its slimy eye and started to claw at it. The shark released its grip.

I started to swim back to shore before the shark came back for more. The swimming was exhausting, as I couldn’t lift my left arm.  A red ocean foamed whenever I moved. I could feel a sense of sleepiness. I crawled up onto the beach to meet my parents. They came running at me as an ambulance pulled into our driveway. That’s when the world turned black.

I woke in the hospital with my mom on the right side of me and my dad on the left. I looked down at my leg and saw around 100 stitches lining my leg in the shape of a bite. Then I looked over to my left side and saw nothing. My parents could see the worried look on my face. I turned back to my left side and looked to where my arm used to be and saw a nub. I was speechless. My parents kept trying to reassure me everything was going to be fine and I could get a prosthetic arm, but to me, nothing was ok! My life at school would be completely different.

It took awhile for the doctor to come. I couldn’t look at my left side. I felt incomplete. What would my friends think? Would they reject me, because I’m different? Will they laugh at me? My life is turning upside-down. The doctor came in. He assured me everything would be fine just like my parents. He told me I could get a prosthetic and some other things I didn’t listen to. Did anyone even get me? I know I could get a prosthetic arm, and I know that I’ll have support, but I don’t have my arm! I’ll feel alone, since no one at our school is different like I am now.

Many days later, I went home. The car ride home was silent. I looked out the window and at the sea. All I could see was red. I envision the blue slowly turning  red. I can still feel where the shark engulfed my leg in its mouth. I look down to where the stitches line my leg. Around the stitches my skin had turned blue and purple. It looked a little gross. No one at school would look at me the same. I was dreading the next day.

Today's the day I go to school. Today's the day I get laughed at and teased. I wished I had my prosthetic arm, then I’d be able to hide it with a long sleeve shirt. Now my little nub is visible to the whole school.

I waited outside for the bus to come rolling in. I was the middle stop. Half the bus would see me. The bus stopped in front of me. The doors opened for me to get in. I slowly went up the stairs and turned to face the seats. Everyone was staring. I went to my assigned seat at the back of the bus. Everybody’s head turned as I continued down the aisle. I sat down with everybody’s eyes on me. That’s when the birds started chirping. People asked what happened, and how did it happen? Everyone seemed more concerned than grossed out. No one made fun of my nub. Maybe this wouldn’t be that bad.

The school day was better than expected. Every teacher was nice to me! If I made the same mistake over and over, the teacher wouldn’t get annoyed. I had a free gym class because it was a little hard walking because of how sore my leg was. All my friends were supportive. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

But, it was bad. The next day was horrendous. Apparently, the first day is easy. The second day was when all the bullies came out of their cave. I was teased for the nub. I was called Mrs. Frankenstein and all sorts of names. I felt awful. I would walk down the halls with people giving me disgusted looks. People were turning around just at the sight of my left arm. I went to sit down at my lunch table that I sit at with my friends, but as soon as they saw me, they turned around and went to sit with Ella Colton. Ella is my enemy. I watched them laugh and giggle as they enjoyed their lunch. Right now I know the feeling of someone lost at sea.

The rest of the day, people stayed as far away from me as possible. When teachers caught them, the students got in trouble and would give me a dirty look. I was relieved when the last bell rang. I was still hungry from lunch, and the fridge was calling my name.

Mom greeted me at the door with a smile and hug like always. Then she asked me the question I didn’t want to answer. “ Hi honey, how was your day?”

That set me off. I started to cry remembering what had happened that day. I ran past her and into my my room. I locked the door and flung myself onto my bed. I thought to myself, why did this happen to me? Why did it happen? What did I do to deserve this? I looked into my closet and saw my surfboard. I got up, picked up my surfboard, opened the window and flung it out the window. I quickly grabbed my wetsuit and through that out as well. Is this what’s going to happen for the rest of my life?

That night I had a nightmare. I was in the ocean back with all four limbs. I was surfing. The breeze was flowing within my blonde hair. I could feel the sprinkle of water as the wave died down. Then a shark jumped out from the wave. The shark engulfed both my legs in its huge mouth. Then it closed. I screamed, and that’s when I awoke. I was covered in sweat. I looked around me, and I was still in bed. I was still in my room. This event had really affected me.

In the morning, my parents had already left for work. I was alone getting ready for school. I walked into the living room to eat my toast. The doorbell rang. I walked over to the door and opened it. The mailman had already left and there was a package at my feet. I picked it up. The package was a little heavy. I brought it into my room and opened it. It was my prosthetic arm. I let the bus go without chasing it down. I wanted to miss school today. I was so excited. I might get to feel a little normal again! I ripped the tape off the box and opened with joy. I saw this long metal arm like thing. I got the instructions and started placing it on me. I’m pretty sure I did it wrong so I took it off and waited for mom or dad to get home.

That night my parents helped me with my arm. Finally, I was able to feel normal again! Once it was adjusted I tried it out. I picked up objects, I threw a ball, and did a handstand. I was jumping with joy. I put on a shirt and shorts and went to the kitchen to eat breakfast. Everything seemed better.

The next morning, the bus felt like it took forever, until it finally arrived.  When I stepped onto the bus, the bus driver smiled at me. I walked down the aisle and kids were smiling at me and not giving me anymore sympathy.  I felt normal. The school day was better than expected. The whole day was like regular day before the incident. Every part of the day except lunch.  At lunch the bully of all bullies came up to me, Ella.

“Well, well, well. Look who we have here, Ms. Frankenstein.”

You know the feeling when your blood boils?  Well my temper got the best of me. I kicked her in the shin and the whole cafeteria gasped.  Ella was on the floor with a prosthetic leg right behind her. She had a limb missing as well.  She looked at me with embarrassment splattered across her face. She put the leg on and ran away.  

I realized Ella and I weren’t so different after all.  If I look back closely looking at her, then I should’ve realized the obvious signs. She would always have a little limp when she walked.  Ella always wears long pants or dresses that always covered her legs.

I ran out of the cafeteria searching for Ella.   I went into the bathroom and saw her there. She was crying. She looked like a mess. Her mascara was running down her face, her eyes were puffy, and her face was red.  She looked up and saw me.

“ Why are you in here?” Ella asked.

“ Looking for you.”

“ Why would you want to talk to me?”

“ Well I wanted to apologize.”  I stopped for a moment.

“ What happened to you?” I asked.

“ I was swimming out in the ocean and got attacked by a shark. I don’t like talking about it, so can we drop it?” She asked.

“ No! Why would we drop it? You and I experienced the same thing and here you are bullying me. We’re not letting this go. Why are you hurting me, when you should understand!”

“I wanted the attention off me.  Before you came this year, everyone made fun of me.” she finally spoke the truth.

“I’m sorry for kicking you.” I finally broke the silence.  

She looked up at me and smiled.  “I would love that.”

We walked back to lunch side by side, girl by girl, friend by friend.


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