marina, they called her. marina, marina, from the sea, the most beautiful child. “marina, where is your home?” “the sea, the sea.” when they baptized her, they said her spirit will find water. marina is an ugly cousin: hair too straight, skin too pale, eyes more like the reedy, muddy creek behind grandmother’s house than the roaring great ocean. each morning, she would open a window and look towards the horizon to see if something had changed in the world; hopefully, the universe would be a little wider, a little bolder if it did. six years after she was born, when we traveled to the ocean together for the first time i saw how it howled at her. we built four sandcastles that each had two pale shells glistening at the top; “palaces for marina,” they laughed. when dawn came, marina rushed back to the sand. the castles were gone as if they never existed. marina looked to the ocean, and the ocean howled back. before we drove home, as we washed the sand from our bodies and I removed the broken shells from my feet, marina stood by the edge of the water and turned her back to the horizon. one day, marina realized the world was too big for her and now, her window remains closed. marina, they called her. marina, marina, from the sea, the most beautiful child. “marina, where is your home?”
Sophia Hlavaty is a high school sophomore at Phillips Academy in Massachusetts aspiring to study Environmental Law. Her work has been featured and/or recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and The Apprentice Writer.
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