I adored Bethany's story. She is such an inspirational lady, to have survived and not given up on following her dreams after everything she went through. I became aware of this incredible athlete, whilst watching the 2011 movie Soul Surfer. During the movie, I fell in love with the idea of Bryon and Bethany, (portrayed by Jeremy Sumpter and AnnaSophia Robb) and their connection through the tragic events that occurred. This is in no way based on facts, and does not mean to take away from the truth of Bethany's story, this is just me playing with the fictional characters that were constructed in the movie. This is what I want to happen! I hope you enjoy, and feel free to leave me a message with your thoughts!
His heart was pounding, so much so, people could actually sing along to the beat it was pumping. But he couldn't focus on how much he was hurting, how much he wanted to just collapse. He just couldn't, as he helped slide Bethany Hamilton into the back of his dad's truck. How could he even think of being in pain himself, when she had just lost her entire arm? Gone. But it did hurt. Something inside of him, ached. It was Dread: and it was growing. It started at the pit of his stomach, creeping up until all he could feel was the excruciating hysteria: Bethany was dying.
"Hold onto her!" His dad bellowed as he skidded around the edge of the car and dove into the front seat. Instantly, he followed orders and wedging himself between the edge of the tray, and Bethany's board. His legs holding himself firmly into position, he was able to wrap his arms around her waist, and hold onto her tightly.
The truck literally jumped into gear, causing Bethany to slide a little under his grip. But he held on, as his dad sped away from the ocean, and closer to civilisation. Next to him, in the back of the tray, was his sister Alana, who had climbed into the truck with them. As he looked over to Alana, desperate to pull his eyes away from the fading Bethany, he noticed that his sister couldn't look at her too.
The car lurched over the edge of the cemented road, and the jerk pulled his eyes back to Bethany. She was so pale, so weak. There was blood everywhere, and it didn't look to be stopping soon. He was so worried that she hadn't said anything in a while.
She was slipping.
He was trying to hold onto her, to keep her there with him. But he couldn't stop her slipping away from him. He couldn't save her.
"Please don't die... Don't die... on me,"
With a final snap, the wind coming through his window tugged just a little too hard to his curtains, and everything fell crashing to the floor. The sound dragged him out of his sleep, and he choked as he pulled himself up.
Bryon Blanchard found himself awake, completely cocooned in blankets, perched on the edge of his couch. Gasping, he struggled for a few moments, before breaking through his sheets and pulling himself upright. He tried to focus on his breathing, as it scratched against his throat, and the pounding of the wind that had escalated as the night progressed. Even though he tried, his mind instantly shifted back towards the dream he was having before he awoke. It was undoubtedly a dream. Some would even call it a nightmare. But Byron called it a memory.
He gave himself a shake, as though the physical act could expel the thoughts from his mind, and then climbed off the couch, stepping further away from his sleep. His bed sat alone on the other side of the room, untouched in weeks. Bryon had given up trying to sleep on it each night, now having taken to sleeping wherever he eventually dropped. He pulled himself over to the window. Slamming it down, he successfully shut out the power of the wind from the sea. Leaving the broken railing and curtains scattered on the floor, he shuffled back over to his couch.
He could feel the sweat as though it was clumping against his skin. The idea of pulling the blankets back over him made him instantly feel claustrophobic. So he threw them onto the ground, with his shirt following shortly after. With the tattered makeshift bed underneath him, he stared up at the ceiling. Everything in his room looked brighter in the moonlight that was seeping through his now uncovered window. His bathroom sent in more rays of light, so that even when he shut his eyes, he could see the brightness. But Bryon didn't bother getting up to turn off his light; he knew that casting his room in darkness would not help.
Everything was so much harder during the night. In the daytime, there were things to do, people to talk to, work to be done. In the night, when the world had fallen asleep all around him, Bryon was left to only his thoughts. And when his mind finally shut down, those thoughts, the ones he so desperately avoided, are remembered through his dreams.
As per usual, it didn't matter how much he tried. Falling asleep was nearly impossible for him. No matter how tired he was, Bryon will only ever get a couple of hours of sleep an evening. And once he had woken up, sleep doesn't visit a second time.
Bryon knew he should probably talk to someone about it; it definitely isn't normal. But then his family would wonder why he was having these problems. And they would work out its connection with Bethany. And then things would become seriously complicated. So instead, Bryon would spend every night, trying his hardest to overcome it all by himself, and every morning, as soon as the sky started to change its tone, he would hit the road, sometimes running for hours, the adrenaline giving him the burst to get through the day. And on barely any sleep, it was always a really long day.
This day was no different. It was still very windy as the sun started to rise. When Bryon eventually returned from running, he headed into the kitchen for some breakfast. It was oddly quiet for that time in the morning, with none of his family insight. As his toast was cooking, his sister slid into the room.
"Where the HECK is DAD!"
"I Donno?" Alana growled at her brothers lack of information, before scrambling out of the room. He threw on some butter, before following her. "Why do you need dad?"
"He promised to give me a lift to the airport. I have a comp in Honolulu this arvo! I need to catch my flight!"
"Can I help?" he mumbled as he took a bite of his breakfast and she hurried around her room gathering clothes to pack. "I can drive you if you want?"
"Not necessary, Bryon! I'm here!" Their father's voice echoed through the house.
"Finally!" Alana declared as she grabbed her still open, only partially packed bag, and went to find her dad.
Their dad was running through the house too, trying to find his keys, whilst he slipped over because he was still wet from swimming in the sea. Alana was hysterical as she tried to find everything she owned. By the time their mother found them, and realised how out of control her family were, she had little choice but to join in the frenzy, and try to help get them a little more organised.
Bryon kept out of their way, and cooked himself another piece of toast. As Alana grabbed the last of the stuff she needed, and the keys were finally located, he followed them outside. When he helped carry her bags to the car, he called out to his family. "Is it possible you should have all woken up a little earlier?"
"Some of us are not able to wake up as early as you, Bryon!" Alana complained.
"It's called self control Alana!" He retorted quickly, even though in his case it was more insomnia that self control.
"Have you got everything, hun?" Their mother was always the one to ask such a question. "Bathers? Money? And make sure you have your phone to call us when you arrive, okay? And We want to know how the competition goes!"
"Phone!" Alana gasped, as she froze. She looked panicked as she searched her pockets. "I haven't seen it at all this morning. Have you guys seen it?" When they all shook their heads, she really started to freak out.
"Relax. I am sure it is in your bag!"Bryon assured her. "Jump in the car. I will give it a call, and you will be able to hear it ringing. It's not on silent, is it?"
"No, I left it on loud." Alana climbed into the car as he dialled his sister's number. His dad got into the driver's seat as well, and together they listened for the sound of her phone.
"It's ringing," Bryon told them, but they couldn't hear anything from inside her bags. "You must have left it somewhere. Where did you have it last?" he asked her as he kept listening to the phone ring.
"I don't know... Um... Oh, I could have left it with-"
"Good morning, this is Bethany!"
Bryon froze. Literally like a statue. He didn't know what to say. His mind jumped to the dream he had awoken from, only a few hours prior, and then even further back to the moment in the water, as he frantically paddled over to the source of the blood, and watched it pouring out from where her arm should have been.
"Is anybody there?" Bethany's voice was light. Not weak like it had been when he had last heard it. The attack was months and months ago, but it didn't feel like that to him.
"Bryon?" Alana's voice broke through, and he looked around to see both his parents, and his sister staring at him. Bryon realised how terribly he was hiding how broken he was. With no idea what to say to Bethany, he just handed his phone over to his sister.
"It's for you."
"Alana speaking. Oh, Bethany! You have my phone? I must have left it there last night. Dad and I will drop by and pick it up now, if you are home?"
"You really don't have time hun!" their mother interjected, "You will miss your flight!"
"But I need to take a phone, mum."
"Take your dad's,"
"That's fine," Their father agreed from the driver's seat, "Bryon can drop via Bethany's place and pick it up today. He can send it in the mail."
"Did you hear the plan Bethany? Is that okay with you? Fantastic! I will speak to you soon, thanks so much!"
Bryon was still rather motionless, as his sister handed him back his phone, and the engine of the truck was cranked over.
"Is it okay if you pick that up for me? I really appreciate it, bro."
"Yeah... No problem at all Alana. Have a good trip."
As his sister disappeared down the drive, and his mother wondered off to get ready for work, he was left with his thoughts once more.
He hasn't spoken to Bethany since the day she lost her arm. But today, that was going to have to change.
And he really didn't know if he was ready for that.