Message in a Bottle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I am an optimist. I have high hopes. I can’t help it; realismdoesn’t appeal to someone as dreamy as me, and pessimism just takes too much effort.

So is it proving my optimism that I hope with all my being that someone finds this bottle? Maybe.Is it too hopeful to pray that a boy finds this - a beautiful boy in a beautiful ship on thisbeautiful ocean - and writes back to the address below? I dream that maybe one day we’ll findeach other and he’ll whisk me off to the sea and we will become professional sailors. Orpirates. Dark, dangerous, wanted-by-the-world pirates. But no one will ever catch us becausewe’ll hide in the bays and coves of Ireland and France, and we will live nomadiclives.

I guess you could call me a lost soul. Lost mostly because no one would ever suspectme, of all people, of possessing a pensive, deep personality, and that assumption makes me all themore distant. My mother says I should have been born in a different time - ancient Greece,with its theater and human-like gods I’m more prone to believe in; during the Italianrenaissance, colored with Da Vinci’s and Botticelli’s and art on chapel ceilings; oreven the roaring ’20s, with its trumpets and fringe.

I figure that’s whyI’m a lost soul; my soul - my spirit, my former self - is stuck somewhere in history. Myreincarnation is incomplete, so I’m half stuck in this time before the rest of me catches upand bounces me into another time, another life.

I must have died on the sea. I wonder howmany skeletons of my former selves sleep beneath the waves. Maybe that’s what I’mwishing for - this letter to be found and connected to a string of events that will somehow lead tomy past. And I feel my past goes farther than the 16 years of time in this life I’mhalf-living.

A wistful optimist - I walk, talk and breathe contradiction, don’tI?

The smell of the ocean makes me feel complete. I’m obsessed with the feel of sandand salt on my skin. Things in life are clear to me when the water is clear but when murky, so aremy emotions. Rain makes me feel pretty and clean; sunlight, plain and revealed.

My fatherand I played a game when we lived by the bay. We would drive over this hill, but before we wouldsee the ocean, he would make me guess the color of the water. Grey, blue, green, azure - so manycolors! It seemed forever changing, and I so admired its lack of consistency. I wondered why thewater in the bathtub didn’t turn colors, but I figured the mermaids and dolphins and fish hadCrayola art kits like mine and had fun decorating their habitat.

Then I grew older and moreobservant, noticing that the ocean always matched the sky. The sky’s influence on thispowerful element was such a lovely, dependent concept that I adopted it as my personalphilosophy.

So it’s no surprise to me that rain clouds fuel my creativity, andstanding by the sea makes me feel content and understanding.

I think the best that couldhappen as a result of my experiment would be that a young girl - a self-proclaimed wanderer, adreamer with secret goals and wishes - finds this. Her fairy tales would be confirmed, basking inthe happiness that someone besides her felt whole standing beside the sea, someone besides herselfwas wishful enough to write a message in a bottle. Starting a chain of a new generation ofphilosophers whose dreams become known and fulfilled - that would be the best thing that couldhappen; if this bottle with my letter inside doesn’t sink to the depths of DaveyJones’s locker as soon as I toss it into the sea ...

But, you know, as an optimist, Ican only hope.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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