When Francie Seneca says that being stranded on a deserted island with five other people after the plane she was on crashes, isn’t the worst thing that has happened to her, she means it. The personal challenges she has faced in her life play an important role in helping her survive this obstacle. Francie and the others learn to live on the tiny island, with each other and with all the island has in store for them. Francie is sure they will be rescued before the island defeats them.
After lunch, I went to dig for clams near the tidal pool. Brock followed with a basket and stick. We worked in silence for a while, then he asked me a few questions. Nothing too personal. Easily answered. We talked with the ease of good friends. Even the silences that inevitably came up were not awkward. We worked for the better part of an hour, until I needed a breather.
I was standing facing the ocean, taking a break when Brock came up behind me. He did it unconsciously, I think, but I shrieked like a scared kid when he touched the back of my neck.
After I caught my breath, I turned to face him. He looked very bewildered. His eyebrows were raised in question but I knew he wasn’t going to ask. Brock is a very private person and he respects other people’s privacy. If I was going to explain myself, it would be only me who initiated the explanation.
I took a deep breath, looked at the choppy water and felt my throat close up. Icy waves of fear crept over my skin. I rubbed my arms to erase the chill but there is no erasing anything about that day.
I had to repeat the first sentence twice because I knew he couldn’t hear me. It was difficult to form the words. My throat was tight. I swallowed and tried again. Brock listened, attentively, with his eyes on my face. It didn’t take long. I spared him too much detail.
I don’t remember walking back to camp although when we arrived, I washed and cooked the basket of clams we’d collected. My hands have finally stopped shaking so I’m writing this as we sit by the fire. The corners of my notebook are curled due to the moisture in the air. Brock’s face is shadowed in the flickering firelight. The patterns of light and dark dance across his face. A bead of sweat is running down his cheek. Or is it a tear?
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