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The Heart-Breaking Message in a Bottle
Whoosh. The went blew in protest against the calm waters of Long Branch Beach in New Jersey. The shining sun smiled its rays and the white-feathered seagulls screamed out their calls for everyone to hear, as they fought over a piece of bread.
What a perfect day, thought Claire, as she put down her lavender beach towel on the scorching sand, underneath her rainbow colored beach umbrella. She kicked off her hot pink flipflops and laid down on her stomach, ready to get a great tan. She remembered her father, who loved the ocean so much and was always in high spirits. He disappeared two years ago on a boat, never to be seen again. She missed him so, so much.
“Claire! Claire! Come on! You won’t believe what I found!” shouted Charlie, her eight year old brother, who interrupted her train of thought.
“Ugh! Hold on Charlie! Why don’t you go talk to your stupid little friends? I’m fifteen! Why-” began Claire, but was interjected by her younger brother sprinting up to her, kicking sand all over her.
“Just look at this!” exclaimed Charlie as he shoved an object into Claire’s hand. Claire was just about to toss whatever was in her hand, but stopped as she glanced down at it.
“A wine bottle? Charlie… have you been drinking?” Claire teased her brother.
“You’re so funny,” shot back Charlie. “But seriously, did you look inside?” he asked giddly. Her curiosity took over her, as Claire slowly unscrewed the bottle cap. She noticed something was trapped in it. With her slim and nimble fingers, Claire took it out with two fingernails.
“A note? What’s this? OMG! It’s a message in a bottle!” Claire turned to her brother. “We made these in third grade! Maybe this is mine!” Claire eagerly pricked open the letter, only to find it very fragile, and accidentally ripped the end of the letter off. She tucked a loose strand of her blond hair behind her ear and her sea-green eyes were wide with anticipation. She started to read it out loud.
“Dear my wonderful family,
I am writing to you to tell you not to worry about me. I figured since I can’t send mail on ship, I might as well as throw it into the ocean and hopefully someone will find it! “
Claire stopped reading this for a second, because she realized this was not hers, but the handwriting seemed vaguely familiar.
“I love you all, and my adventures are so exciting. I have seen three dolphins, two whales, and even one shark! But, the point of this letter is not to brag about me. It’s all about you guys. Kristy, my beautiful wife, you are my one and only true love. I love all the happy moments we have spent together. Our marriage was the best thing that has ever happened in my life. Charlie, my funny and curious son, you are the best son I could ever wish for. You have made my life happier and more enjoyable. Claire, my gorgeous, caring, smart, daughter, no one could ever have a better daughter than you. You have made me laugh on my worst days and smile when I’m down. But most importantly, you guys are the best family ever and I just want to let you know I will always be there for you no matter what. I am always right with you, every step along the way. Love you endless amounts.
That was it. The last part was gone when Claire torn it by accident. But, it didn’t matter. She knew who it was from. The date was the exact same date her father had gone missing, along with his ship. He was on a military trip, and now he is gone. Tears streaked both Claire’s and Charlie’s innocent faces.
“Hey guys! What’s wrong?” came their mom, already worried, her eyebrows knit together.
“Nothing is wrong. It’s just dad.” Claire lifted her head up, smiling through her tears. “He said that he was still here with us.”