Frozen Sea

Sixteen-year-old Alaska's whole world is slowly but surely starting to crumble. Her boyfriend is charged with the rape of her best friend, and she is staring at a long, lonely summer of secrets and unimaginable pain. Losing herself in surfing and her night shift at the local pub seems like the only way to pretend none of it is actually happening for real. Until she meets Connor, a mysterious musician on a holiday of inspiration, Alaska finally realises that sometimes the only way to move on is to face up to reality.

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4. III

Loving someone was powerful. Intoxicating, even. Sometimes you felt like you couldn't even breathe, that everything inside of you had suddenly frozen, all because of him. The only thing more powerful than love was loss. And both of those things I had encountered. 

It was late. The mist entwined my ankles and I shivered, not from the cold but the prospect of entering the arctic ocean that lay right before my eyes. It had been months since I had been surfing. The funny thing was, that the gigantic waves or the horror stories of being knocked into a heap of spiked rocks did nothing to waver my confidence; nor did the smoky clouds rapidly disclosing the moon from my view. The thing that scared me most of all was the fact that I was opening a whole new wound inside of me, and I didn't know if I could handle it.

It was Carter who had taught me everything I needed to know about surfing. I had spied him a couple of times at the surf shop, flicking through the indie records and surf wax, but I had never spoken to him. Back then I was shy, fifteen; and about as inexperienced as you could be when it came to the male species. However I soon figured that I didn't need to know how to flirt. Carter was as advanced at that sort of thing as much as a seventeen year old was. One drizzly afternoon in March when I had succeeded in dropping my entire bag of accessories from the shop it was Carter who bent down, gave me an impudent grin and began gathering up my belongings in his massive hands. Before I knew what was happening my breath was caught in my throat and without even knowing how to react I knew that I had fallen for Carter. 

At the time it seemed purely coincidental when, that evening, Carter magically appeared at the beach bonfire held once a fortnight with me and my classmates at Duckpool beach. He was just sitting there languidly in a checked button-down shirt and faded jeans, half empty beer bottle in his hands. He was talking to everyone, girls practically sitting on his laps, guys hanging onto his every word like he was some sort of god. 

I barely knew what was happening when later on in the evening, Carter came and sat down beside me. He handed me an beer and although I didn't drink, I took it. We talked about life, of death, of Cornwall, and of surfing. I'd admitted that although I had lived here since I was ten I had never learned, however wanted to. To Carter, that was unfathomable. Knowing how to surf was as critical as being able to breathe. Before I knew what was happening Carter had taken my mobile off the log beside me and added his number to my scarce contacts list, vowing to return the next day at the same time and not a minute more to teach me.

Carter kept his promise. Throughout the rest of the Easter holidays he did, too. By the end of it both of us were so unhappy at it being over that the kiss seemed just like an emotional parting, and not one of infatuation. At that point we both knew what we wanted, but I was too terrified to admit it. Carter on the other hand, wasn't. I was magically labelled as Carter's girlfriend the next day at the bonfire, and although I got a great number of resentful glares somehow it was worth it.

I was knee deep now. My breaths were coming shorter and quicker, and I kept my head rigidly fixed on the moon above the water even though by this time tears were pouring down my face. I didn't want this. I didn't want to be in here; I couldn't be this close to Carter. He was everywhere. In the ocean, in my eyes, in my head. There was no way I could get him out, even if I tried. Somehow I had thought that the freezing water would simply wash him away, like it did to dirt. I couldn't believe I had been that stupid.

I was out of the water before the clouds finally covered the icy moon.

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