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A Boy and his Jellyfish This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The wave crashes down at my feet. I step back, afraid that it will begin to pull me in. Again, the white caps come down, smashing against the sand. I inch my way in, watching as my father and brother dive into the chilly water. One step, then another as the water reaches my ankles. A gust of wind blows my brown hair so that it covers my eyes. I brush it away and look back at the ocean. Where the sky meets the water, I can see a boat. It's moving fast, and soon it is out of sight, as it passes by the beach. Another wave startles me and knocks me against the hard sand. I move in farther, the water grabbing at my legs. A few feet from my dad, I keep moving. The water is up to my waist and I begin to shiver. My brother laughs as a wave pushes him under. To him everything is just a game.

It is that moment I jump in, feeling the water surround me. I feel a sting on my leg and push myself to the surface. As I gasp for air, my father smiling. My wet hair sticking to my face, as I see a wave, almost on top of me. Again, I dive for the bottom of the ocean, hoping that it will pass over me, without a struggle. I come up to see a boy. His blond hair, cut short, is plastered to his head. His blue eye smiling. He let's out a giggle and splashes me. Out on the sand, his mother scolds, but he seems to ignore her, and he moves on his way, down the beach.

I swim over to my dad. “Be careful,” he tells my brother. The waves are rougher than before, and one moves over my head. I grab from my father's hand, trying to stabilize myself. I turn around and see the boy again. He looks young, around nine or ten. Then I notice it. So does my father. The boy waves, laughing as the water pushes us all back a couple of feet.

“The water is fun, isn't it?” My dad doesn't seem uncomfortable. The boy nods, never losing his smile. He splashes my father, who splashes him back. I look back at the boy's mother. She looks happy, and I point her out to my dad. She mouths to him, “thank you.”

“Is that a jellyfish?” There is a scared look on my brother's face, and then he screams, thrashing to get away from the tiny beast. I laugh, so does the boy, copying everything I do. He wanders over to the jellyfish.

“Pretty.” He giggles. My dad warns him not to touch it, or it will hurt him. He only smiles. “Pretty,” he repeats. “I want one.” My father can only help but smile. A wave pushes the jellyfish away from us, but the boy seems to have already lost interest. Playing in the water, I can't help but watch him. He seems so happy, so unaware of his disability. He watches the other people on the beach, emulating as two teenagers try to dive into an oncoming wave or as a little girl jumps over the water coming up onto the sand. Soon, I begin to notice how cold the water is becoming. My hair and skin is sticky with the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean.

“Pretty.” I see another jellyfish. My brother inches away, obviously afraid of the small creature. The little boy is pointing, trying to show it to his mother. She seems to be trying to say something to him. She holds up five fingers, and she counts them off, “one-two-three-four-five.” He laughs and comes running back into the water, towards us. We are his new friends. The five fingers refer to minutes and soon, he is called out of the water. Again his mother looks at my dad, grateful that we were so kind to him. The boy looks at me.

“I will have one.” He points to the jellyfish, still floating, dangerously close to us. Then he leaves. His mother grabs his hand, and she leads him to their towel. He skips along next to her, she forces a smile. You can tell she is heartbroken, the poor child will never grow up. He blinks, not registering her pain.

My father come over and gives my a hug. “Zo, you understand.” It's not a question, but I know what he means. We talked about it last year, in science class. Chromosomes. As the water gets even colder, we decide to go home. As we stumble across the blazingly hot sand, I look back at the beach. Hopefully one day, the boy will get his jellyfish.





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This article has 25 comments. Post your own now!

sweetcaroline1596 said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 4:44 pm
i love this story sooooooooooooo much!!
 
lovebug said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 4:43 pm
good job! this is a great story!
 
Sallysunshine said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 9:29 am
amazing!!!
 
whatwillbe....willbe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 9:27 am
I am going to sound so repetitive, but you are a fantastic writer. This story makes me want to cry. I really feel like I know the little boy, and all I want to do is help him. You really make me believe everything that is happening. Please, do not stop writing. This story is truly amazing, and I want to read more of your work. 
 
girlgirl888 said...
Sept. 25, 2010 at 9:23 am
really great, love the desperation! 
 
zoedelilah said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm
thank you all so much for the support, i really appreciate it!
 
typewriter said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm
I agree with everyone who has posted a comment, this was really well written. 
 
passionfruit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 5:42 pm
wonderful job! 
 
A.Dreamer said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm
I love the story! :) Very sweet, heartbreaking, and innocent! Amazing job writing this!
 
sandradee said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 9:15 pm
i read this on the forums, so i decided to check it out on the website. i'm glad that i get to post here, because hopefully it will be in the magazine...
 
Waiting_For_The_One said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 6:29 pm
that was cute! i love the way its simple but still revolves around a clear idea and i say keep on writing!!! :)
 
focusbronze said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm
You are really good! I love the story, it is fantastic. I would love to read your other work :)
 
smartypants said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm
you are amazing! you could probably continue this and make it longer. i would gladly read this again!
 
pleaserememberme This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 3:24 pm
I cannot get over how amazing your story is! Please keep writing, you have a lot of talent. The description in this piece is wonderful, very magical and enchanting. Keep up the good work!
 
acciodoublestuff said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm
wow...all i can say is wow! this story breaks my heart (in a good way) it makes me want to start to write stories, normally i just write poetry...but really fantastic job! this should be posted in the magazine!
 
pickupapen said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm
this was a beautiful story, you are a really talented writer!
 
Emmaline said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 10:58 am
this is sooooo good!!  ur amazing at details and they just flow!!  and just a comment but i'm stupid so i have no idea what was wrong with they boy??  was he mentaly chalenged??
 
zoedelilah replied...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm
thanks so much! i really appreciate it! he has down syndrome, a disability you get when you have two of a certain chromosome. 
 
Emmaline replied...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm
ok thx!!  =-D
 
AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

The Good:  I loved this!  As I said in the forums, this is utterly fantabulous (btw, if a writer makes up a word, it's real, is it not?).  I loved the imagery, the characters, and how you didn't directly state what was wrong with the little boy. You went int just enough detail - marvalous job.  Keep up the good work!

The Bad: His should be capitalized in the title ;)

The Random:  Very good and unique idea!

 
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