Is it Too Late

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I could see my own breath. That’s how cold and crisp it was walking along the Cape May beach in January. I’ve left home once again. My parents are inevitably out looking for me. Ha! As if I really care. It serves them right to be worrying. They think they can tell me what to do every minute of my life. Well, I have news for them. I am my own person. No one can tell me what to do, but me!

The sand, frozen, felt hard under my feet representing mini sand dunes falling apart with each step. This was like my life: strong and solidly formed, but slowly breaking apart and drifting in the wind. My foot kicked a bluish, rubbery object; half buried in the sand and caught between broken shells. At first I thought it was litter, which made me mad, but after closer inspection, I saw it was the lifeless form of a deflated balloon. Perhaps I should pick it up and throw it away. I yanked it up and smoothed it between my fingers, rubbing the sand off of it. I walked towards the garbage can, but then realized there was a paper in a sandwich bag tied up with string attached to the soggy balloon. Curiously I opened the bag and unfolded a notebook paper that had been folded into fourths. The paper had dirt spots on it, and some tares but it was still visible to read. It was a letter. The handwriting was small, curved, and neatly formed. Now smudged from its travel, and welcoming any distraction from my hopeless life, I unfolded it and quickly read the letter.

Help, Please somebody, anybody help. Dad got mad at mom again. He threatened to kill her,
I don’t know where to turn. I have no one to talk to. My life will be threatened if I tell the
authorities. I fear for my sisters. They are just young and innocent. I can’t take this life
anymore. I’m ready to do something drastic. The pain and suffering is too much. Please help before it’s too late.

Jolie, age 15

236 6th Ave.

Brooklynn, NYC


I read the letter carefully several times. I felt stunned. Was this for real? Was somebody playing a joke? But as I looked around, no one was on the beach in this weather. The balloon had lain so tightly between the shells; it must have been there a while.

I felt a need to show the note to somebody. It was definitely a cry for help. I had my own problems. I barely had my own friend to turn to, let alone answer a total stranger’s cries for help. However, I feared if I waited to show somebody this note, it would be too late. Could I life with myself turning my back on this person? Despite my heartache and frustration in my own life, I knew I needed to help Jolie.

The wind was picking up, and the sun was starting to set. Cold air blew off the ocean in the form of mist, making the situation eerie and unsettling. It was time to find a shelter and get out of the cold. Should I go home? Should I hop the bus and never come back? A twenty dollar bill felt heavy in my pocket. How far would it take me? And Jolie seemed hurt, lost, and far away. It was too cold to spend the night outside on the beach. Besides, the cops would arrest me for trespassing after dark.

Food from the nearby sea side grill wafted through my near frostbitten nose, reminding me that I would soon need to eat. As the moon became visible, and the stars shone, it reminded me of night time walks with my dad. He knew every constellation, every Planet’s existence, and every phase of the moon. Mom enjoyed taking me to the lighthouse, our favorite place to watch the sun set. My older sister, Winny, and I chased each other with flash lights in the dark. It all seemed so long ago for my fifteen years. Life had changed and became harder. We weren’t getting along. Did I still have them to turn to? Would they want to help? Standing there on the edge of the beach, the tide crept out and away from me as though it was telling me to stand strong, face my struggles and realize my life wasn’t so bad. Some people have it way worse than me. I was really lucky to have a loving family, scared to death thinking something had happened it me. With all my effort, we could go back to a happy family again. It could be done. Jolie! What could I do about her? She didn’t have the help she deserved. She needed a friend. I could be that friend. I wanted to help. I would help. I picked up my pace as my feet hit the street, the letter and balloon clasped in my hand. I pulled my jacket up closer to my ears with a chill, and headed in the direction of home.





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