It was a searing September morning. Global warming, they once called it. Ha, more like global roasting, I thought. The temperature was soaring, still rising even though it was already in the mid-fifties. I struggled to zip up the too-small wetsuit I’d been given by my father when I was twelve. From what I knew, I was the only one who surfed since the Floods came. Three years ago, the Floods wiped out almost everything. The scientists working on stopping global warming hadn’t figured out that the glaciers melted from the inside out, and three years after they started research, it was announced a global emergency. The first Flood was just a small glacier near the Arctic Circle that collapsed, not a real cause for worry. But then the Floods began to happen more frequently. So habitually, in fact, that my family were planning to meet me at my boarding school in Colorado. They didn’t know that the biggest Flood yet was about to hit Sydney, and then consume most of the world. The event reminded me of my brother’s favourite quote, once electricity and the internet were destroyed. “Everything you love can be washed away-” I stopped reminiscing, confused. I couldn’t remember the whole quote. I didn’t need to get emotional anyway. Not before I went into the ocean, where the waves, while fun, had claimed many lives. I didn’t want to join my family in their depths. Not yet.
I swam out until I couldn’t touch the bottom, and then I dived. My skin tingled as the freezing, salty water hit my skin and I winced as it ran into my eyes. I heard the whirling of engines above me and my blood turned as icy as the water when I looked up. The FPs. The people responsible for ensuring no one went into the water. I dived, heading deeper into the ocean’s somewhat murky depths. I stayed underneath until I couldn’t see the helicopter’s reflection, but then a wave came, and I was battered and held down. I couldn’t figure out which way was up. I could feel the air trying to burst out of me, and I remembered what my father had said during my first lesson. “When you have to, Charlie, let go, and you’ll be guided to the light.”
Bubbles burst from my mouth and my oxygen-deprived brain tried to figure out why the bubbles were going to the floor of the ocean when my father’s teachings kicked in and I swam to the surface. When I came up, I was much closer to the shore than I had anticipated. I swam slowly, until I feebly crawled onto the hard-baked sand. Coughing up gritty water, I lay on my side, in the hot sand, and as I closed my eyes, my brother’s words that had evaded me were remembered.
“Everything you love can be washed away, but if you aren’t swept up in the current with it, everything will be okay.”
And everything was.