Priceless
Sofia, Age 13, Doylestown, PA

Grazing the grassy-green gulf, the sailboat sloshed slothfully through the gentle ripples crinkling beneath the deck. The warm and silky water exploded with sparkling emerald-green colors bleeding into the waves. A hot pepper sun burned the Gulf of Mexico, and blackened its depths. Our foreheads glistened with sweat building up star-like beads that floated on top of our skin. The world around us went up in a tornado of blurs as we headed to infinity and beyond. An everlasting ribbon of wake rolled out behind us, leaving a curling trail of water. A relaxing wave crashed down on everyone aboard.

“It’s so calming to be out on the water,” my mom sighed.

I had to concur; the gulf was motionless and hushed. I closed my eyes as I felt the warm breeze paint my face.

Plop! The boat went still on the creamy water as the silver steel anchor planted itself in a mound of sand. I rose off the deck and planted my feet on the edge of the sailboat’s front. My eyes caught a dolphin in the distance weaving in and out of waves like a spaceship sewing the atmosphere with a line of fire. I sprang into the sticky air, holding my breath. 3, 2, 1 and I was submerged in a thicket of bubbles scrambled in my hair. The bloated boat was magnified underneath me as I whirled up to the surface. As I re-entered the world above me, water trickled down my face.

I swam to the shoreline a few strokes away. My toes plunged into the sand as I slid up the beach brewing with a braid of seaweed. I noticed how the water licked the shore and lapped up perfect specks of shells gluing like stickers to the ground. We trudged through the spider web of rainbow shells, which crackled beneath my feet, beaming in violet hues, folded and crunched like an accordion lying on the island. I picked up a swirling snail shell, which I thought was an appealing sight, and I praised myself for the find. I then heard an astonished gasp interrupt the silence of the beach a few moments later, and I abruptly turned to face the commotion to see my mom holding up a miniature round orb.

“It’s perfect!” she whispered as she gazed at the whole sand dollar in her hands.

We all ogled in amusement. Never before had I seen such a perfect sand dollar. The sweaty shell clasped in my hand seemed futile against the striking appearance of the bleach-white sand dollar. I stared into the opening of the swirled, and ice cream like, shell. I peered into the black hole stretching to infinity and beyond. I tossed the shell into the feathery dune grass and joined in with the others gathered around the star sand dollar.   

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