"I want to be a history teacher," Annie said one morning, laying down on the docks. "I can teach kids about the old continents, cars, video games... everything."
Her brother sat beside her, his legs dangling in the water. The winds of the open ocean rustled his hair, a blond mass tainted by saltwater and bleached from sunlight. "You're too obsessed with the past for your own good," he replied, his reflection shifting in the waves. "No one wants to hear about how people drove around, or how computers worked," he paused, looking up as a seagull flew by overhead. "Besides, every parent tells their children about the old continents. No teacher needed."
Annie sat up, a frown crossing her face at her brother's insistence at poking a hole in her fun. "But there's more than what our parents know! Right now, if we lived on the old continents, we'd be at the age to get our driver's licenses. Did you know that? " She squinted as she looked out from the docks, watching as a few motorboats cruised by over the waves. Some families were already headed off to work.
"I didn't," he amended, "but you know what else they teach in history class?"
"That everything like that is gone." He pointed out to the waters. "Try driving a car in an ocean. History is obsolete. There's no point teaching it to the next generation."
She got to her feet, shooting a look at her older brother. "I think what they did was cool." Annie crossed her arms. Absently, she picked at the peeling skin from a sunburn. "I want to do it, too."
Marcus slowly got up. "You need land to do that." He looked off from the docks. Only a few houses changed the plain scenery, poised carefully on inflated platforms for buoyancy to keep them above the warm waters. "All we have is open ocean."
"Pessimist," Annie huffed, starting back up the docks and towards a boat tied in place. "Sure there's no land near us, but the U.S. is still somewhat above water. The next generation needs to know that."
"You can try boating out to the remains of somewhere like Tennessee," Marcus voiced with a shrug. "But, as school has surely taught you, it's government property. They'll send you straight back here."
Annie let out a sigh, the conversation dying out as she boarded the boat. Marcus untied the boat and positioned himself at the motor. Annie stared out at the open waves as they sped off, water spraying up and brushing along her face.
This was Florida. What was left of it.
She heard that before the waters had risen, there had been warnings. People talked of changing temperatures, melting ice, and rising tides inching closer to cities. Those warnings had never been heeded.
The oceans had claimed most of the old landmasses, from the Americas to Asia, long before Annie was born. Islands were sparse in places like the U.S. or Russia, but she had never seen those islands. The only thing she knew were stories from the old continents and inventions that had survived since that time. Her favorite survivor was solar power, a profitable resource considering the strength of the sun on the open ocean. It powered their boat motors and lights at night. History had brought them many things, but Marcus refused to see that. Her thoughts were interrupted as the motorboat stopped at a small buoy.
"Check this one, Dad said he loaded it up recently," Marcus pointed to the buoy, marked by a green stripe from the pigment of seaweed. The same colors marked the door of their house and the side of their boat. Every family in the area went by a color to mark all their property. Their parents had chosen green.
She reached out for the buoy, pulling it close and grabbing onto the line beneath it. After a few minutes of huffing, Annie pulled out a small trap.
A lobster sat inside, staring with glassy black eyes. Annie tried to pull it out, struggling to remove it from its rope cage.
"I'll get it," Marcus assured, taking the trap from her and reaching in.
"Careful," Annie warned, "you're going to-"
Marcus yanked the lobster out before she could finish. A few of the old ropes snapped apart as it came loose. "Ugh, are you kidding? Dad is going to kill me." He tossed the lobster into a bucket, looking down at the broken trap.
"It's okay, I can fix it!" Annie scrounged around the boat, picking up some fishing line and holding it up.
Marcus continued to examine the trap. "Yeah, right. Fishing line isn't going to do anything."
"Just let me try." She waited, but he didn't respond. "Please?"
After examining it for a few more minutes, he finally handed it over to her. "Fine."
She took the fishing line and cut it, twisting the pieces into thick braids. "I learned about sailing in history class," she muttered as she carefully took the braids and knotted them tightly in place on the trap. "The knots are old sailor knots. They'll hold steady."
Marcus pulled on the fishing line, testing the strength of the trap. Satisfied, he tossed it into the water. "Thanks. I... guess history is helpful sometimes."
"You're welcome," Annie replied as he pulled away from the buoy. "History is important, that's why I want to teach it."
Marcus nodded. "I suppose it can be useful. Still, there's a lot of questions history can't answer."
"I love our lives, but really, the world shouldn't be this way," Marcus chatted as he navigated the boat. "Why didn't they care about the climate back then?"
Annie quieted. "I don't know. Someday, we'll find out. If you become a history buff, we can figure it out together."
"That's a stretch," he laughed. "Still, I'll always have questions. What would it be like if they did something sooner?"