This Is the Story of You

This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart Read Free Book Online

Book: This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart Read Free Book Online
Authors: Beth Kephart
secondhand purses, Mickey’s collection of sun hats. I grabbed a jar of Mickey’s granola mix, ran up the steps and rolled open the door to the deck. The sea was getting its gnarly face on, looking a little dented and chipped. There was a bank of gray clouds in the distance and Old Carmen on the rocks, her radio volumed up. News.
Eye of the storm headed out to sea. Worst of the storm hurtling east, hurtling past.
    The Ultimates were rambling in—cutting over the dunes, kicking off their shoes, running the quickest line toward the sea froth. Chang dumped her backpack on the high sand, snatched her blade, flicked it, and it flew—a straight up-and-back boomerang whip. Taneisha raised her arm and snatched it, easy, nothing to it. She flicked it right back out, aiming for a trick, but the blade slammed against a breeze and fell into the sea.
    I could hear Taneisha’s bracelets ringing. I could see her cupping her hands around her mouth and calling to Mario, who was running, plunging into the cool temps of the sea, laughing inside the soak of it, his long hair hanging down like the ears of a sheepdog. He snapped up the Frisbee and high-kicked his way back to shore, his jeans hanging low below his waist.
    It was just some breeze. It was just that gray patch of clouds—way out there near China—and now the team had its game going again, its after-school practice of flicks and cuts, corkscrews and bombs, bookend maneuvers. Chang had a whistle around her neck, team-captain style. Mario was reckless with his art. Taneisha was off with her toss. Every time she missed, Tiny Tina called out, “Love you!”
    It took a while before they saw me, before Ginger, her plum-colored sundress filling up like a balloon, then deflating, according to the theatrics of the breeze, pointed at me, up on the deck, said, “Hey. Yo. Mira. You’re in.”
    The blade went short from Chang to Mario to Taneisha and then it took off and the breeze had it, the breeze rinsing it free, swiping it high and hinged, the sound of Taneisha’s gold bracelets still ringing. I stood by the rail of that deck. I raised my hand to the sky. I stopped the bullet speed. The Ultimates hollered high fives at me.
    Mira Banul. Blade in hand. Medium nothing, right then.
    The breeze blowing the wrong way, I bent at the knees, angled my wrist, and webbed my fingers across the disk and let go. It swished. Over the rail, into the sky, across the dune, where it caught a whirlpool of air and spun and Chang began to run, her long legs chipping across the wet sand, her black hair tossing forward, like a hat fallen down on her head. The blade was a kite on a string. It wobbled, then fell. Bounced on the sand, then rolled the wrong way, and now all of the Ultimates were running, dragging their game farther on, away, throwing a goodbye wave over their shoulders. Chang and Mario out in front, their long black hair snapping. Ginger in the middle. Taneisha and Tiny Tina in the back, holding hands as they ran, Tiny Tina an entire head and some shoulders over the girl she loved. The bright blade shone like a beacon. Atlantic City stood in the distance, its neon lights muted by the afternoon sun.
    I wished Mickey and Jasper Lee would come home, wondered vaguely what they were up to, when Deni would call, what Eva knew about Shift and when she would tell us. The tide was going to turn. Old Carmen was watching the sea. She stood up, hitched her waders to her waist with her hands in her pockets, then walked down to the tide and went in up to her knees, didn’t flinch. She stood there, staring, for the longest time, then reached in and rinsed both hands in the salt of the sea. There was a dolphin way out there, or maybe two. There were gulls collecting like clouds and swooping low, screaming some nonsense. The waves were full of extra froth and vigor.
    I didn’t find Mickey’s message until later.
    Call me, sweetie. Soon.

One blue Slurpee.
Two

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