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Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #2053471
What's your compass when you're at sea?
Amy stood in the bow of the boat, the morning wind coursing through the Golden Gate and racing past her, in a hurry to get across San Francisco Bay to Berkeley and crash up against the East Bay Hills. Amy’s diploma from Berkeley was back at the house on her parents’ dining-room table. Now she was heading for the open ocean. Miles of waves and nothing else, nothing to grab onto. Nowhere to go, really.

Whale-watching was her graduation gift. She’d hugged her parents when they held up the tickets a month ago. Now, her parents stood portside as the boat slogged through the waves, watching their daughter alone at the prow. “She said this morning there were no possibilities,” said her mother. “What did she mean?”

“It means she doesn’t see what’s right in front of her,” Amy’s father replied.

The speakers on the boat erupted into life and the captain exclaimed, “Whoa! A fleet of albatross dead ahead! There must be dozens! I’ve never seen so many this far out!”

Amy stayed rooted near the bow of the boat all day as endless schools of mola mola, enormous ocean sunfish, slid past. Jellyfish by the hundreds bobbed in the waves, a banquet for the mola mola. And finally, the whales. Spray shooting up like a forest of sea trees, flukes flashing and dorsals atop the great, rolling islands of the humpbacks. They were everywhere. “Birds and fish and whales!” the captain squawked. “Oh, my!”

All the way home, Amy sat alone at the bow with the afternoon sun at her back. She and her parents disembarked and stood silently on the pier. Her mother grasped Amy’s hands and blurted, “Oh, Sweetie, what are you going to do?”

“I’m not sure,” Amy replied. “But there are lots of choices.”

(Word count: 300)

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