The Great Big Ocean

Alexandra had tried everything. She had tried begging her parents, she had tried refusing to come. Finally she agreed, but she convinced her parents to let her bring a couple books. But still, she was going to the beach. Her parents were taking her to the BEACH. Alexandra hated the beach, unlike her three year-old sister. Alexandra was very picky. One of the only things that she loved were books. BOOKS. She thought that there was nothing better than reading a good book on a summer day. She saw the beach come into view. Reluctantly, she climbed out of the car unenthusiastically. She got herself settled on the beach with her book, while her sister started a sandcastle.

“Alex help?” she asked. Alex groaned.

“Nooooo. I’m reading.”

“I’ll help,” said Dad.

“YAY YAY!” Alexandra’s sister, Charlotte, was grinning.

Silently thanking her dad, Alex started on her book about animal waste. Yes, animal waste. She was very interested in this right now. 

Her dad came over to her and asked, “Alex, want to swim?”


This was true. Alex hated swimming. Even worse, she didn’t know how.

“Alright,” said her dad. “But you need to learn how SOMETIME.”

Alex lay down just to find her book NOT THERE. Alex ran to her mom, yelling, “MOM! DID YOU TAKE MY BOOK?”

“NO, why?”


“Get your other books, don’t bother me.”

Alex looked in her bag and reached in to find her other books on animal waste, only to find that they were also gone.

Alex glanced around to find a group of boys laughing and stealing glances at Alex. They had TAKEN HER BOOKS! 

Alex stormed over to them and yelled, “Give me my books back!”

A big boy, maybe 11 years old, sneered.

“Looks like that won’t happen.”

He had ripped out all the pages of Alexandra’s books and was now working on ripping the covers. Alex, trying not to cry, went back to the blanket and sat down. She loved those books. They had been her favorite. And now she would never get to finish them. She felt someone kneel down beside her. She looked up and found a boy with dark brown hair and bright blue eyes was looking at her.

“I’m sorry. My friends were being really mean to you.”

“It’s fine,” said Alex, even though it was not.

“You know there is a library on an island of the Ocean, right?”

“WHAT? Really? That would be so cool! I wish I could go.”

“You could,” said the boy.

“I’ll ask my parents. By the way, what’s your name?”

“Gabe,” said the boy.

Alexandra went and asked her parents.

“Mom and Dad, can I go with my friend named Gabe to the library across the Ocean?”

Mom looked surprised. “Sure!! But you know that you will have to swim across the ocean, right?”


“Maybe Gabe can help you,” said Dad. “Go try.”

Alex went over to Gabe and said, “My mom made me swim!”

“That’s fine. I can teach you how. I’m on the NYC swim team.”

So Gabe took Alexandra’s hand and pulled her to the Ocean.

“Get in,” said Gabe.

Alex reluctantly got up to her chin in the water. Gabe held Alex’s legs up and told her to kick. Gabe let go and Alex felt herself float. It actually felt pretty good!

“Now move your arms!” Gabe continued directing Alexandra until she felt herself move in the water!

“What’s happening?” 

Gabe laughed. “What do you mean what’s happening? You’re swimming!”


Alexandra had never felt this before. 

“Do you think you’re ready to swim?”

“I mean, yeah!”

“But will it get deep?”

“Nah, this Ocean’s surprisingly shallow, and I’ll walk with you and hold you up.”

So this continued until Alex spotted something disturbing. A big, big wave was forming a little way away. 

Alex shouted to Gabe, “LOOK, THAT IS THE BIGGEST WAVE EVER!”

“Oh, yeah, that’s the biggest wave of the year. It sometimes can kill people. Anyway, what’s your favorite thing to do?”

Alex was freaking out.

“Why are you asking me what my favorite thing to do is when we are maybe about to die?”

The wave was coming closer and closer, and the closer it came, the more Alexandra got more and more frantic!

“Okay, reeeeeeeeeelax! We can survive. It’s about a mile away, it just looks very close due to the size. But I think we will be okay.”

Alex noticed that Gabe seemed very calm.

“Have you experienced this before? You seem very calm.”

Gabe replied unusually. “Look, this wave is really scary to me too. I have not been in it before. But I have seen it, and this is one of the biggest waves ever. All I am doing is trying to stay calm, but inside me, I am freaking out. Just stay calm and—”

“But I thought you were the best swimmer in NYC! I am depending on you. I COULD DIE. This is really freaking me out.”

“Just because I am on a good swim team doesn’t mean I can swim through a wave as tall as the Empire State building!” The wave was less than 10 feet away from them now. “We are just going to have to face it now.”

Alexandra took some deep breaths.

“Face it,” she said, “FACE IT.”

The wave was about to come at Gabe and Alexandra. Alex braced herself for the worst. She peeked out of her hands— which were covering her face— and saw the wave a foot away. She heard Gabe yelling, “Do what you can! I am holding onto you! JUST BE CALM AND LOOK OUT!”

Alexandra repeated these words in her head. “Just be calm. JUST BE CALM!”

She felt the wave lift her up, high, high into the air. She spotted the beach and her Mom and Dad shouting. She couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, but she could make out “Alexandra!” and “Careful!” She saw tears going down her mom’s face and her dad’s worried look. But she felt the comfort of Gabe next to her. Then, Alexandra felt the sensation of falling. Her brain raced as she shouted, “HHEEELLLLPPPP!!!”

The next thing she knew, she was flying in the air, head first. 

Alexandra felt her head smashed into the surging waves and a surge of pain in her right knee. She felt the sensation of falling into a dark, deep tunnel. She felt someone touch her shoulder. That was the last thing she remembered before everything went black.


Blink. Blink. Alexandra saw white. All white. She blinked again and realized that she was staring at a ceiling. She looked next to her and found her mom and dad sadly looking at her. She also spotted her sister in the playroom next door, playing with a toy airplane.  Their faces brightened when they saw Alexandra’s chocolate brown eyes.

“She’s awake!” said Dad.

“Thank God,” said Mom.

She felt her Mom kiss her on her cheek. Alexandra had millions of questions bubbling inside of her. But she surprisingly just couldn’t talk. (Emotionally and physically.) Why was she wearing pajamas with cupcakes on them? Who had rescued her? Was Gabe okay? Wait a second. Alexandra had a thought rush to her head. Was Gabe okay?

Alexandra looked next to her and saw Gabe, lying motionless. She saw a cast on his arm. It was white, but she could see red, probably blood. Alexandra felt so bad for her friend. And now he would never want to swim again, just like her. She saw Gabe’s eyes open and he mumbled, 

“Alexana?” He probably couldn’t talk as well, like her. Alex tried saying something.

“Hhhhiiii Gab.”

Huh. She was probably just tired. She saw the doctor come in, and Gabe did too.

“Hi guys!” the doctor said. “I am Dr. Ring. Gabe, you have broken your arm, as well as cut it on a rock in the Ocean, we think. Alexandra, you have a small crack in your right knee and will get crutches.” Alexandra hadn’t noticed that. She sat up and saw her knee in a cast. “You guys have headaches. You can’t speak very well yet.”

Dad spoke up. “Can we tell them what happened?”

The doctor smiled. “I think they would like to know.”

Dad started. “You guys had concussions. You didn’t feel this, but a lifeguard jumped in and got you guys. Then firefighters came. They used a crane to take you guys out of the Ocean.”

Mom continued. “The lifeguard couldn’t get you out because the waves after the big wave were too strong. Then they put you in an ambulance and brought you here.”

Alexandra felt better talking now.

“Shouldn’t I be wet? I- I was just in- in- in a big wave.”

“Yeah,” agreed Gabe. “How aren’t we w- wet and now both wearing cupcake p- p- p- pajamas?”

Dr. Ring laughed. “We cleaned you guys and dried you up. Oh, and these are the only pajamas we have.”

“Okay,” said Gabe. “But can you please get better pajamas?”

Just then Gabe’s parents arrived.

“Gabe!” exclaimed Gabe’s mom. “You should be resting, not talking about what pajamas this hospital has!”

“But they should have more,” retorted Gabe.

“Oh, hi Henry!” Gabe’s little two and a half year-old brother was staring at Gabe. Henry looked at Gabe.

“Gabee OK?”

“Yes, I’m fine, go play with Alexandra’s sister, Charlotte.”

Henry happily grabbed another toy airplane and started playing with Charlotte.

Alexandra decided that this was the time to tell her mom something important, something that had been waiting to say. Alex took a deep breath and began. 

“Mom?” asked Alex.

“Yes sweetie?”

“Can I learn how to swim?”

“Of course sweetie! But what changed your mind? I thought you would never want to swim now, even in pools!”

Alexandra started explaining. “Well, I don’t want to go in the ocean first, but I could take lessons in our swimming pool at home in Long Island. I want to be ready and not freaked out for a situation like this one.”

Gabe cut in. “Hey, I live in Long Island too!”

Gabe’s dad had an idea. Gabe could teach Alex to swim! “But Gabe, you’re cool because you are the only boy in your group that knows how to swim!”

That gave Alexandra an idea. “Can I get back at those boys who ripped up my books?”

“Oh yeah!” agreed Gabe. “We can push them into the water!”

Alexandra’s mom looked skeptical.

“Maybe that’s a little toooo much!”

Alexandra spoke up. “But can we do something?”

“Maybe just talk to them. But you should stand up for yourself and talk to them with Gabe.”

“Okay, after I learn how to swim because they are going to be meaner to me if I don’t know how to swim like them. Can we go home today?”

Charlotte and Henry came over. “Mommy, go home?” Charlotte asked.

“GO HOME! YAY YAY!” Henry was getting excited too.

“Yes, we are going home today,” the parents said in unison.

After a few more hours of rest, the families headed home. They went home in separate cars but Gabe promised to come visit Alexandra after they got home. (Because he was the one of them that could walk. Alexandra had crutches.)

At home, Alexandra met Gabe on the back porch. Gabe was the first one to speak.

“Well, this incident didn’t result in the best health.”

“Yes, but I learned to not be afraid of the Ocean and to fight through it.”

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought you into the Ocean. This was all my fault.”

Alexandra felt bad for Gabe. “No, it’s not. It’s my fault for going into the Ocean. I wanted to go to the library.”

Gabe leaned over and hugged Alexandra. “You’re the best Alexandra. And it’s definitely not your fault.”

Alexandra leaned over to Gabe. Gabe put his arm around her. Then they heard footsteps coming. Thump. Thump. Thump. Gabe and Alex let go of each other and saw the mean boys coming over to them.

“Hey stupid!” yelled the tallest boy at Alex.

Gabe retorted. “Don’t call her that!”

“And you can call her anything you want, I guess?”

“She’s my friend!”

“Well, Gabe, then I guess you’re not our friends either. Go play with your girlfriend!”

“I’m not his girlfriend!” Alexandra said. “Am I?” 




After Gabe’s arm had healed and Alexandra’s leg healed, Gabe taught Alex swimming. Once Alex had learned how to be a great swimmer, the two of them decided to get back at those dumb boys. Gabe knew that the boys were going fishing, so Gabe and Alex had a plan. They swam in the Long Island river and pulled a prank on these boys. This was how it went. 


“Allright, I see them.” Gabe and Alexandra were very exhausted having swam for so long. They could see the silhouettes of the tall boy and his friends. Alexandra was curious.

“What are their names?”

“The big one’s name is Parker, and his two friends are Daniel and Joshua. I used to like them, but now I regret EVER being friends with them. I much rather like being friends with you.” Alex blushed at the thought of how he meant “friends.”

Alexandra changed the topic. “So the plan is to push them into the water?”

“Yeah. I know our parents think it’s too much, but I think they deserve it.”

Alexandra agreed. “Surely pushing people into the water isn’t as bad as ripping up all their books, is it?”

“Exactly. Let’s do this.”


Gabe and Alex dove under the boy’s boat and pushed it over. They heard screams from above. Gabe laughed.

“Man, I haven’t heard them scream before. This is AMAZING. And they’re not wearing life jackets.”

Alex just thought of something. “Wait, will they drown? Let’s check.”

Gabe and Alex peered around the flipped boat and found Parker, Daniel, and Joshua trying to get back up on the boat.

“YOU-YOU DID THAT!” Parker was furious. “HOW DARE YOU!”

“How dare YOU rip up all my books?” Alexandra was glad that they finally got back at Parker and his gang.

Gabe cut in. “Here, take this.” Gabe handed them a buoy. “Use this to float home.”

Parker snatched it. “And why do we need this to float home?”

“Because we’re taking the boat.” Alexandra climbed on and helped Gabe up.

Daniel and Joshua yelled “No!” Parker just stared in fury. While Gabe was rowing away, Alexandra called to the boys.

“Hey! I hope the buoy fits all of you! Maybe you could SWIM?”

The boys groaned and started doggie paddling while their arms rested on the buoy. Alex and Gabe grinned and headed back home. 


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