Stolen by the Beach

October 1, 2008
By Lei Lei Liu, Flower Mound, TX

“Dinner’s ready!” hollered Mrs. Smith. Her eyes scanned the entire beach for a sign of her 8-year-old boy.

“I’ll be there in a moment,” Johnny replied. “Let me finish building my sandcastle.” Carefully, he placed a miniature red flag on top of the highest tower and stood up to admire his work.

Sprinting toward the ocean, Johnny suddenly stopped and bended down to wash the grains of sand off his fingers. After spending the whole afternoon playing in the sun, the freezing water had felt soothing to Johnny. Since the tides had died down, he could see the reflection of his wild brown hair and the striking green eyes that resembled his mom’s in the water.

Johnny found the mirror-like water amusing, so he stayed there staring at his tan-skinned face until the sound of his mother’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Honestly, I think you need to come back down to earth and quit daydreaming sometimes,” complained Mrs. Smith as Johnny quickly approached her.

Johnny followed his tall and patient mother into their quiet, settled house on the coast of Florida where a smell of chicken and mashed potatoes pleasantly greeted him inside. The scent, Johnny recalled, differed completely from the smell of salt that lingered in the air around the beach.

Ah, the beach! As soon as Johnny had stumbled upon the word, he quickly announced all the enjoyable events he encountered that Friday afternoon to his mom, who listened diligently.

“And best of all,” Johnny concluded, “I found the same footprints I keep seeing in the sand all throughout this week. Weird!”

Immediately, the color drained out of Mrs. Smith’s face, and she shifted uncomfortably in her chair.

Johnny babbled on, “I wonder where it leads.”

His voice trailed on continuously, for he was immensely involved in his conversation. So, he was completely unaware of his mother trembling.

Johnny continued, “Hey, I wonder if Dad would…”


Mrs. Smith exploded with outrage, and tears ran down her cheek. Johnny glanced at this mom with surprise as a long silence filled the room.

“Where is he?” Johnny asked in a frightened tone. “Just who is he?”

Never in his life has Johnny met his father, so curiosity naturally filled his mind.

Unfortunately, his mom pointed silently towards the door, signaling him to leave.



Johnny stormed out of the house in frustration leaving his mom at the table pouring bucketfuls of tears from her eyes. Anger boiled beneath his skin like a volcano ready to blast out in fury, so Johnny didn’t feel any ambition, whatsoever, to forgive his mom for his rudeness. As he searched far and wide for a place to calm his nerves, Johnny ended up retracing his steps toward the beach.

Suddenly, he remembered the footprints he had found in the sand earlier and bolted to a gigantic palm tree that loomed over him like an enormous umbrella. Two massive feet were imprinted into the scorching sand and led a trail neatly through a gathering of palm trees.

Johnny steadily followed the footprints through the mysterious surroundings and afterwards, found himself standing on another side of the beach.

The sun had already made its way down towards the horizon, and soon a magnificent ray of orange and yellow would intertwine to create an exquisite sunset. Everything had seemed extremely peaceful to Johnny until he caught a glimpse of something unusual stuck beneath the sand. Picking it up, he brushed off the sand and revealed a handwritten note addressed to him:
Forgive me, I adore the beach with a tremendous amount of satisfaction that no one could possibly know how I feel. Throwing myself into the sea proved to be a horrible choice, but I am now and forever reunited with the ocean.

- Dad

Wishing he’d never read the tragic note, Johnny collapsed to his knees onto the sand and tried desperately holing back the tears that overwhelmed him.

Is this some kind of joke? He wondered. Sadly, the messy handwriting did indeed belong to his foolish father.

As the sun shrunk into the darkness, Johnny gazed sorrowfully at the ocean and how it swayed back and forth calmly. The night time sky reminded him of a blanket covering the surface of the beach, but Johnny could not admire its beauty, not now. Bits of his father’s note still haunted him and left his feelings all jumbled up and tossed around. His views of the beach had changed to a new perspective.

“I can’t keep dwelling in the past,” Johnny mumbled. “I have to grow up and keep moving on…Isn’t that what you would do, Dad?”

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