Resurrection Bay
Page 6

 Neal Shusterman

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“I just want to say I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have acted the way I did to you.”
Since Rav rarely apologized for anything, I decided to milk it. I folded my arms and leaned against the door frame. “No, you shouldn’t have,” I said, pretending I wasn’t ready to accept his apology, even though I was.
“Yeah, and I’m sorry.”
That weight still lingered on him. As much as I wanted to make him suffer, I couldn’t. “Apology accepted. So what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” he said a little too quickly. “Nothing’s wrong at all. As a matter of fact, things are totally right.” He gave a weird little laugh; then he said, “There’s something I want to show you. I know it’s late, but do you think you can get out?”
“Sure,” I told him. “My dad’s not home anyway.”
Then Sammy, who had snuck up right behind me, asked, “Can I come, too?”
The look on Rav’s face said that Sammy wasn’t invited. I figured this might be about his apology and about us making up. The last thing I needed was Sammy along as a third wheel.
“No,” I told Sammy. His face got all twisted, and his body all limp boned. “Anika . . . ,” he whined.
I looked to Rav, but he shook his head. So I made a decision. “Sure,” I told Sammy. “. . . Of course, if you come, you’ll miss Dad flying by.”
“Yeah, Dad’s gonna do a low flyby and wave to us—maybe even set down and pick us up to take us with him to the ice field.”
“Really? D’ya think he’d land right on the roof?”
“Maybe,” I said. “You know how Dad likes to surprise us.”
Then I waited for a moment before I shook my head and said, “Naah, forget it. He’ll have to do it another time. You have to come with Rav and me.”
“Why?” he said, getting all twisty and limp boned again.
“You’re too little to stay here by yourself.”
He looked at me, deeply insulted. “Am not!”
And that’s all it took.
Sammy promised to be good and not to watch anything scary on TV. I left holding hands with Rav, wondering what he had to show me, hoping it was something fun . . . and never even imagining the truth behind it.
There’s a before, and there’s an after. There are those events that surgically slice your life in two; and once it happens, you know that you’re on the other side of that painful incision, and there’s no going back to the way things were before. If you’re lucky, the wound heals into a jagged scar. And if you’re unlucky, it never heals at all; it just keeps bleeding. The knife came down for me on that bright, moon-pale night.
As Rav and I walked down the street, he said to me, “You know, I couldn’t stop thinking about what you said the other day. About that woman under the porch.”
I shrugged. “I was just being stupid. It wasn’t who I thought.”
“I think maybe it was,” Rav said.
That got me a little angry. Had I been so convincing that I had him believing it, too, or was he just making fun of me? Either way, I had spent so much brain power trying to make the whole episode go away, I didn’t want to bring it back up again.
Instead of heading to his house, we turned left at the end of my street and walked toward Main Street.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“You’ll see.”
He took me to his father’s pub, which was closed. That was odd, because it was a favorite local hangout—especially this time of year when most of the other bars were closed for the winter. Even worse, the windows were frosted in that white, soapy stuff they use to mask the glass when a place goes out of business.
“My dad’s up north,” Rav said.
“You mean Anchorage?”
“No, I mean north, north. But he’ll be back soon.”
Now, in most other places when you say someone’s “up north,” it doesn’t mean very much; but when you live in Seward, Alaska, all you’ve got up north are places so cold you don’t want to go there. They call winter “The Hammer” because when it comes down, it hits hard, and all you can do is hunker down until the thaw. So the thought of his dad going north for any reason didn’t sit well with me.
“What’s he doing?” I asked. “Hunting?”
“Yeah,” said Rav. Then he thought about it. “Kind of,” he said. Then finally, “No, not really.”
“So where is he?”
“Prudhoe Bay,” he told me. I got a shiver just thinking of it. Prudhoe Bay is so cold it makes Resurrection Bay look like the Bahamas. It’s where the Trans-Alaska pipeline starts, way on Alaska’s northern shore, up above the Arctic Circle. One of the coldest places on Earth.
“You guys aren’t thinking of leaving here, are you?”
“No,” said Rav, then he thought about it. “I don’t know,” he said. Then finally, “Yeah, maybe.”
But before I could even consider the idea of life around here without Rav, he took out his keys and unlocked the pub.
He opened the door a crack, then slowly peeked in. It was dark in there. Only faint, diffused moonlight spilled through the clouded windows. I could hear music playing somewhere as we stepped in.
Rav closed the door behind us but didn’t make a move to turn on a light yet. It was guitar music playing, an acoustic guitar by the sound of it—a gentle, mournful plucking.