TITLE: Now and When
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
You can’t get letters from your future self. At least that’s what 17-year-old Haley McKinley thought until she receives one four weeks before graduation. The letter contains seven pieces of advice, but it’s the final one that sends Haley’s life into a tailspin.
The trick is not to panic. Which is kind of hard when the water’s been holding me captive for what seems like minutes. I let my body relax and wait for the undertow to retreat. Finally, just before I think my lungs might burst, the wave spits me out.
I grab the leash attached to my ankle and pull it back, hard. My board bounces against me, and I slide myself onto it, panting. I feel my right temple, pull my hand back. No blood. I gaze at the shoreline. Aside from a couple walking and a few kids playing soccer, it’s pretty empty.
It was my dad’s rule to never surf alone. But since he’s halfway across the country at some sales presentation, I’m not sure his rules really matter. My head’s pounding now. I point my board toward the beach and let the waves carry me in. I don’t like to end a ride on a low note, but this wipeout was bad. The ocean’s way of reminding me it’s still in control.
I’ll let it win this one.
I resist the urge to flop down on the sand the minute I reach land and instead drag my board across the street to the building that will always be Randy’s Surf Shop, even if the sign says otherwise. I run my fingers over the trinkets that line the aisles where I used to wax surfboards while I waited for my dad to close up for the day.