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Somehow In Your Arms Perry Shumway The morning is gray, the sun not yet risen over the

big mountain in the center of the island. The ocean is slate-blue, breakers rolling up onto the pale sand. The sky is cloudless and clear—a perfect day. I stand with the tail of my surfboard stuck in the sand, holding both edges and pushing against it as I bend one leg, stretching. Jon comes up behind me and kicks me in the back of my knee, making it buckle. “Come on, kuuipo, wave’s in.” My best friend is tall, about six feet, darkly tanned so that he looks almost Samoan or something. His hair is as jet-black as mine, spiked up in the front and gelled into smooth points everywhere else. His almond-shaped eyes are a dark gray, like the horizon, his nose is aquiline, and he has a really soft, kind of sad smile. He’s in a good mood today. Jon picks up his longboard, white with a red stripe down the middle, and jogs into the surf, diving forward as soon as the water hits his knees, disappearing for a second. I follow more slowly, wading in with my board (small, black with while Maori designs on the nose) under my arm. Making my hands into scoop shapes, I press my body against the fiberglass and stroke my arms powerfully through the water, moving farther out into the bay. I shiver slightly as my leg slips into the water on accident—I’m just wearing my bikini set and then a tank top over it. Jon is a few yards ahead of me, bobbing on the breakers, silhouetted against the sky, straddling his surfboard. It’s four in the morning; the first wave run of the day. My hair isn’t even wet yet. The sky is starting to go gold above the ocean in anticipation of the coming dawn. I can hear the waves crashing against the steep bank of the beach, roaring somewhere in the back of my ears. I come up beside Jon and echo his position, dangling my feet in the darkish water, letting my skin adjust to the temperature. “Looking good,” he remarks quietly, drumming on his board with the knuckles of both index fingers. Then he lifts his right hand and points into the distance. “There,” he says. “Wanna take it?” I grin. It’s just like Jon to give me the first wave of the day—not out of courtesy, but because he’s the most superstitious person in the world and believes that taking the first wave is bad luck, I have no such beliefs. “Sure do,” I say, and slide back onto my stomach and start paddling, keeping my eyes on the growing wall of water coming in off the open ocean. I reach the middle of the bay a little ways before the wave, so I turn my board around and settle down to wait. The trick to surfing, once you’re good with your technique, is all timing. When to start paddling, when to stand up, when to turn out of the pipe and get the heck out of there. I look at Jon. He’s watching the wave serenely, his gray eyes kind of glazed over. He’s soaking wet—another of his superstitions, which he follows religiously, is to get wet as soon as possible. I like to wait until I fall off a board to get my hair wet. He shakes himself and looks over at me, I stick my tongue out at him, He makes a snarky face and looks back at the wave. “Perry, go!” I paddle forward, glancing under my shoulder to check my distance, then going full speed. I can feel the wave underneath me, several tons of raging water roaring underneath my seven-foot piece of fiberglass. And then it’s all the way beneath me, and I stand up on the board.

It’s the biggest rush in the world. The water rumbles beneath my feet. Nothing can make you feel smaller—but nothing can make you feel bigger, either. You’re on top of the world; but at the same time, you are dwarfed next to these huge waves, towering over you, ready to kill you if they like. I start to whip my board around sideways and move into the center of the wave—but as I turn my head, and before my board can follow, I notice the top of the wave curling over on itself, and I grin. Now, I’m not superstitious like Jon is, but there’s one belief we share: if the first wave of the day is a pipe, it is VERY good luck, not just for the day, but for the entire summer. For both the person surfing it and the people they’re there with. Jon, down the bay, is laying on his stomach, ready to dive through the middle of the wave, whooping loudly for me to ride it. I turn the other way and balance, waiting for the wave to curl over me, and once I’m cozied up in its ultramarine watery embrace, I start moving, running my hand along the inside of the pipe. Just ahead of me, Jon dives through to the other side so he isn’t crushed by the wave. A few seconds later, the fun’s over; the wave is narrowing in front of me, so I cut out sideways out of the pipe and out in front of the wave, zigzagging back and forth until it breaks and I can dive into the water. I hold my breath and open my eyes, wincing for a second against the salt, but soon I can see Jon underneath the water, looking for me, tethered to his floating surfboard by his ankle just like I am. I swim over to him, and we both surface about fifty yards from the shore. Straddling my board, I watch as Jon takes a couple waves, neither of them pipes. His style of surfing is a lot different than mine—he simply likes the feeling of gliding around on a wave and so will settle for boogieboarding or even bodyboarding; and he usually surfs on a longboard so he can balance on the nose, his toes wrapped around the edge. I, on the other hand, like the action—riding the pipes, the fast waves. I hate boogie- and bodyboarding, and I can’t stand longboards. Jon stands straight up on his board; I crouch down. He boards over to me, cutting back and forth on the remnants of his second waves, and slides down onto his stomach. “Hi, Perdita,” he says. “Hi, Jonathan,” I say in the same childish tone, and slip down into the same position, letting my board bob on the waves. “Did you have fun?” “Yeah.” “Good.” He reaches over and puts his hand on my back to keep our surfboards close together and turns his head to the side so we’re looking at each other. In the same way that I can pick up on his moods and opinions, Jon can do the same with me. He might be in a good mood, ridiculously happy as usual, but I’m not, really, and he can tell. He smiles at me in that soft way and moves his thumb around on my back, rubbing in that way that’s so comforting. He understands that it’s just one of those days and there’s nothing anyone can say. He sits up, straddling his board, and jerks his head to the side. “Come ‘ere.” I smile wanly and scoot backwards onto his surfboard, careful not to dump him off, and he pulls me between his knees, against his wet skin, which is surprisingly warm. “Look,” he says, and points, for the second time that morning. I look. The sun is rising over the bay, staining the water and sky red and purple, with fiery gold stripes of clouds up against the horizon. “Mmm…that’s pretty.”

We sit for a little while more, and then Jon grabs my hands and leans far to the side, dumping both of us off of his surfboard. “Feel better?” he asks when we surface. “Not so much,” I gasp, pushing my hair out of my eyes and bundling it into a ponytail, braids and all. “Kind of worse, actually, now that I’ve inhaled several pints of salt water.” “It’s not that bad. Kind of tastes like…um,” He stops to think of a word. “Seawater?” “Yeah. That.” I roll my eyes and start treading water, then splash him. He splashes me back. This goes on for maybe thirty seconds before one of my necklaces decides to let go of itself and fall off my neck. It’s the one Jon gave me for my last birthday: a thin chain, with a silver-andpaua-shell sea turtle hanging from it. The honu, in Hawaiian legend, leads lost sailors home. Many people, when leaving the islands for the first time, get a tattoo or a piece of jewelry with a honu on it, hoping it’ll bring them luck and safety. Jon always says that my home is wherever he is, because we’re practically family. It’s metal, so we both know it’ll sink fast. I dart forward and reach out, and grasp hold of the pendant, just as Jon reaches to rescue my necklace. His large hand curls around mine—still not reacting to the fact that my necklace is safe. Somehow, he intertwines his fingers with mine, and I look up, straight into his stormy eyes. Our faces are closer than I thought, and our noses are touching and he’s staring at me and time seems to slow…and he’s staring and staring and staring and then… He blinks. And he uncurls his hand from mine and dumps the necklace into my palm and pulls his head away, accidentally nudging his nose against mine as he does. “I’m gonna take this wave, ‘kay?” He chases his tether back to his surfboard and starts paddling away, brushing his fingers against the bottom of his nose and sniffing—not in a sad way, or an allergy way, just in a something-to-do way. I look down at the necklace. The clasp isn’t broken, luckily—it just came undone. Finally the tide goes out and I get off my last wave of the day, untether myself from my surfboard, and go to meet Jon on the beach. He swims back in and stands with his surfboard under his arm, waiting, and then together we load our boards onto the roof of the van and he climbs into the front and I climb into the back and while he’s driving I change into my work uniform and brush out my hair and do something with it. “Doing something,” for me, is a relative term, and on this particular day, “doing something” with my masses of wavy black hair means rubbing a dime-sized blob of shine serum through it and letting it spill onto my shoulders. After that’s done, I clamber into the front seat with Jon. He has his favorite Nine Black Alps CD in, their husky voices crooning out “Pocket Full of Stars” under the rumble of the engine. I pluck Jon’s Rubik’s Cube out of the glove compartment and scramble it up, letting the layers spin loosely between my fingers. Jon only buys the best cubes. I look up at him. “Green cross?” I say.

“Green cross,” he confirms, nodding. “When does your shift end? I’ll pick you up.” “Um…” I turn the cube in my hands, looking for the green side. I find it and start spinning the sides, bringing the edge pieces up and matching them with their sides. “Two. In the afternoon, not the morning,” I add as an afterthought, and start matching corners. Right invert, down invert, right, down, repeat. Jon slings his wrist over the steering wheel and looks at me sternly. “Perry Veronica Shumway, I only did that once. And it was because I had jet lag from going to Arizona and I fell asleep.” I roll my eyes and turn the cube around, looking for a top piece without blue. Up, right, up invert, right invert, up invert, front invert, up, front. “Whatever. Do you have to work today?” “Yeah, but I’m on at eight and done at noon, so I won’t be late picking you up, hopefully.” “Okay.” We’re quiet for a few minutes as I solve the second layer. As we pass the sign that points to Po’o Road, I chuckle. “Remember that one time that Branson was boogieboarding up here and he got all that sand down his trunks?” Jon laughs out loud, a clear, throaty sound. “And the crab! The crab was so not happy to be down there.” “I’d totally forgotten about the crab!” I recall the image of Branson trying to be discreet about detaching the little crab from his nether regions while being in extreme pain. “I love Branson.” Jon nods. “He’s a cool kid.” He and I have known our “gang” all our lives. There’s Branson (Wilkins) of course, in all his tattooed glory, and then Walter Northam, resident surf teacher extraordinaire. Owen Ryder, who moved here from the mainland when he was four, with his millionaire parents and down-to-earth attitude. The girls aren’t as attached to the gang as I am, but it’s okay with me because I hate drama. Still, the girls are all right: Tall-blond-and-beautiful Sanoe; magnetic, serene Ruby; and bossy, cheerful Polly.