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Water (1st Prize, Category 2)

April, 2014
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The beat of my heart 

Molten sunlight. 

She rules me. 

One day, long ago, I was born into Water. 

She is sometimes a terrible beast. Some days, she lashes out until I am floundering in her arms. But, there is nothing I can do to protect myself. Who am I to dictate to her grandness?  I am just a jellyfish, and she is Water. 

Today, I have not angered her. Today, she is calm. Beams of light shine through her grand majesty, and her robe is of a gentle turquoise blue. There is nothing that is more beautiful. 

I gaze into her watery caress, smiling softly as I do. 

She cradles me in her grasp, and it makes me feel brave for once. “Water?” I probe carefully at her consciousness. I want to ask her about everything. I want to know if she loves me back. “Water?” I try again, opening my mind to her. 

All is still.  It is deathly silent. 

It is as if every living creature feels the undercurrent that is pulling us away from shore. 

Sound breaks out at once.   

The loud thundering waves, the growl of a tragedy about to be born. 

I thrash and fumble in the water, but it only serves to create more ripples. I feel waves overcome me, sweeping my body and hope away to some faraway void.  I wince as one sphere of mud splats across my face.  I shake violently – Water ripples and clashes above my head. 

What have I done?  Water’s gentle beauty disappeared into yesterday as this new Water emerges – this terrifying and cruel beauty.         

“Sorry! Sorry!”  I think forcefully toward her.  Water rages even more, sending a wave of disgust toward me.  I cower behind reefs as Water propels a strong jet of her wrath in my direction. 

I should’ve known.  Water will be Water, unpredictable like always.  I shouldn’t have said anything. 

Waves clash, thunder rumbles, it is like gods are fighting right there next to me.  But it isn’t as if this hasn’t happened before. 

I stare into Water, a sea of memories flooding over me. 

Once, a long time ago, Water had another one of her fits.  A jellyfish elder once told me before she left me to fend for myself.  She said that Water swept my birth mother away, somewhere no one could even guess. 

That’s why the only mother I know of is Water: the wide expanse of blue that I greeted me when I opened my eyes for the first time. 

But what is important is now.  Right now. 

I turn around and start swimming to safety.  Away from this raging Water!  Away from my imminent doom! Away! Away! 

But I can’t.  Water is everywhere, ensnaring me the same way she has ever since I was born. 

I can’t resist anymore, so I collapse into her arms.  I smile inwards… Water…  I can’t help it; Water is still my mother. 

The Water around me swells, tightening until I can hardly move.  Then softly, gently, she eases down, smoothing down her boundless waves. 

Tentatively, I stare up, into the surface of Water. Once again, colors dance on her surface.  First the yellow of the shining sun, then the pale reflection of a bird skimming the sky.  The pattern arrayed on Water’s skin is one of divine perfection.  

Entranced, I shift my gaze downwards.  Crystal blue adorns the bed of Water, but deeper down, a murky, mysterious, beautiful grey exists.  Below me, Water pulses with energy, blazing and freezing, gentle and powerful.  If I stare into her depths for any longer, I would sink into them. 

My Water is back! 

“Jellyfish…” She purrs, a deep sound in her throat.  I freeze, surprised.  Water has never spoken to me before.  Carefully, I bob my hood to let her know I am listening. 

“Sssssorry.”  She draws out the words in a low soothing hum.  My heart falters before giving Water a smile.  In the deep consciousness of my mind, I can see her smiling back at me. 

Something deep and mysterious flickers inside of me and in that moment I am blissfully happy. 

And in that moment, I am Water, and she is Jellyfish. 


By Claire Lu,

12 years, Shanghai American School - Pudong


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  1. Jellybean
    April 9th, 2014 at 17:59 | #1

    Heyy Claire!! This is so awesome!! Now you don’t have to email me your story XD


  2. Anna
    April 10th, 2014 at 13:30 | #2

    WOW!!! Claire u r so amazing!!!

  3. Braveheart
    April 11th, 2014 at 12:20 | #3

    Would Claire or any readers here tell me why in the end of the essay “I’m Water and she is Jellyfish”? Thanks!

  4. Claire
    April 12th, 2014 at 17:27 | #4

    It’s because at that point of the story Jellyfish feels like she is more powerful and that she doesn’t have to be scared of Water. It is also the point where she forgives Water.
    That’s just my idea. It can mean whatever you want it to mean. :)

  5. Braveheart
    April 15th, 2014 at 10:58 | #5

    Thank you very much for your reply. My daughter, Elena (who wrote “Howling in Yellowstone :-)) and I enjoyed reading your story. Again, an amazing imagination and point of view. @Claire

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