The Big Break(107)

By: Cara Lockwood

“You have someone to tow you?” Kai asked, and Henley nodded, pointing to a group of his friends down the beach.

“Okay, man. You go for it.” Kai offered up his hand for a shake and Henley swiped it away, preferring instead to hug his idol.

“Thanks, man. Thanks a lot!” Henley trotted back down the beach, and as he stared after him, Kai felt as if he was officially passing the torch. It felt bittersweet but right.

“I’ll be up there on the cliff, watching you,” Kai called after him.

Kirk was on his phone, frantically making calls and talking about the “next big thing.” Kai walked with Jun, Auntie K., Po and Jesse back up the beach. They drove up to the lookout, and when they got there, they had to fight through journalists peppering him with questions and flashbulbs lighting up in his face. But the media frenzy died down just before Henley went out on a perfect fifty-foot wave. The kid killed it out there, just as Kai had thought he would. Pretty soon the journalists clued in to what they were missing and trained their cameras on the ocean.

“Do you wish that was you out there?” Jun asked Kai as she snaked an arm around his waist. Po, who clutched Kai’s neck, rested his head on his shoulder.

Part of him did, but he knew he had so much more to live for. His knee wasn’t the same, probably would never be, but that didn’t mean he had to give up everything else about life. In that moment, Kai grasped that he did have a life beyond surfing, one that he very much wanted to live. One with Jun and Po in it, a family and maybe a bigger foundation for all the kids on the island who needed his help.

“I’ve got everything I want right here,” he said, and he meant it. He kissed the top of Jun’s head and squeezed Po tighter. He realized that he had everything he needed and more as Jun leaned her head against his chest.

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