Authors: Anna Davies
Teddy nodded solemnly.
“I’m ready to leave the island,” Miranda said finally. Yes, being here meant being close to Christian, but there was too much pain and too many memories. She wanted to go somewhere where no one knew her, where there was no world beneath the sea, just out of her reach. Because even though she wanted to remember everything, she knew she needed to get some distance and forget some things to do it.
Eleanor nodded, as if she’d been expecting Miranda to say that. “You can leave tonight, if you wish.”
“Thanks,” Miranda said, a small smile playing on her lips. Finally, she and Eleanor understood each other. Unprompted, she reached toward Eleanor and embraced her, allowing herself to cry, for the first time ever, on her grandmother’s shoulder.
ONE YEAR LATER
THE DRY HEAT MAKES
IRANDA’S LUNGS BURN
when she breathes, and each sunny day after sunny day seems to wipe out memories of foggy mornings that broke into brilliant crystal-blue-sky afternoons. There are few storms, and the rare ones that occur kick up walls of dust, not waves.
It’s the exact opposite of Whym, and Miranda still isn’t sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. She attends a boarding school, Arizona Academy for Academic Excellence, that sits in between a strip mall and highway and the desert, and for the most part, she keeps to herself. She likes it that way, finding it oddly freeing to be somewhere where no one knows her history. She also is finding that bad luck, or Sephie’s curse, or whatever it was that clung to her on Whym, did not follow her to the desert. Here, she’s free.
Which also means that she feels herself becoming less and less connected to Christian. She knows that he’s somewhere, just beyond the crest of a wave. But there are no waves here. She wonders if he can sense the fact that she’s so far away from him. She knows that he thinks about her.
She also knows she’ll need to go back to Whym eventually. There are still people there: Eleanor, Teddy, even Fletch’s parents, who are part of her past and will hopefully be part of her future. But she also knows that she can’t do that until she can look out across the ocean without crying, without feeling her stomach sink in despair for all the destruction and loss that she endured. And with each passing day, she feels more and more ready to do that. She’s ready to reach out and learn to love again, to open herself up to the very real possibility of loss. She’s ready to run into the ocean and dive in headfirst, relying on the waves to buoy her up. She’s ready to see Mr. and Mrs. King, and remember Fletch as the hero he was. She’s ready to forgive Gray, who moved to her grandparent’s house in Charleston. She’s ready to finally visit Genevieve’s grave, and tell her the entire story of Christian and Sephie and cry, wishing that Genevieve could have somehow been spared. She’s ready to believe that love doesn’t always have to mean loss.
But first, where the desert goes on and on outside Miranda’s window and the hills and valleys are a testament to permanence, Miranda has decided to get used to standing on solid ground.
an associate editor at
, has written for the
New York Times
, and other national publications.
is her first novel. A graduate of Barnard College, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.