It was a coastal wind and it was biting. We were at our usual spot on the beach in Santa Monica early-at a time when few others had yet to wake up from the night. Towels served as insufficient blankets, noses popping out for air as we sat on the sand, watching our brothers surf.
Eventually, the usual crowd of sun-seekers would come, but for now, it was just our small group and a few tourists who had come to take advantage of the beach outside their hotels. A typical morning that would soon become the day we stood trembling, our hands formed in teepees against our lips, eyes strained open in fear.
The boys had finished their morning surf session and we all sat on the wet sand, watching the tumultuous waves of a sudden riptide.
We had learned from a young age to allow the vast ocean…
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