They told her never to wander too far into the water. You’ll be swept away, they warned. But she didn’t care. She told me she could stay in the water forever. Become a part of it. She loved the ocean- the feeling of bare feet against sand, the beauty in the loneliness of beaches in the winter. She always preferred being alone, so on frigid days, I watched as she ventured into the waves, not stopping until she was a silhouette in the distance. Spreading her arms wide, her white dress billowing in the wind, she shouted her worries into the sea. From far away, she looked like a bird.
She once told me she could stay in the water forever. Become a part of it. Let it engulf her. And one day it did.
Sometimes when I miss her too much, I retrace her footsteps across the sand. I take off my shoes and let the tiny particles wash over my ankles, questioning whether they were the same ones she once carried in her palms. When there is silence, I whisper my sorrows into seashells, set them gently into the waiting hands of the ocean, and watch them float away. The tides roar in reply.
Carol Deng, Age 16, Grade 11, Stuyvesant High School, Silver Key