EXPRESSIONS

The Star of the Sea

by Kaelen Lezec

The Ocean, a painting by Tiffany Feng.

In the beginning, there were two friends, Joy and Ang, who lived in a small village of the Catawba tribe. They used to consider themselves as best friends and had fun together when they were little, but as they got older, their light hearted play turned competitive. The friends could no longer agree or enjoy each other’s company. Joy was known as a kind and generous person that always helped the people around him. Ang, on the other hand, as he grew up, developed a selfish personality, and created chaos, which hurt the people that surrounded him. His evil mind made him want to be on top of the world and to do better than everyone else. Despite his sweet personality, Joy never backed down from Ang’s challenges. As a result, competition between the two friends became part of their routine. Every day they met at dawn to compete against each other. At sunrise, Ang teased Joy, yelling across the valley: “I know I can beat you, Joy, for I was born stronger and smarter than you.” Joy always showed up ready to compete. Sometimes the friends competed for hours. Exhausted, but determined, Ang said, “We’ll continue this competition tomorrow.” And Joy agreed, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Ang.”

One day, during their daily morning contests, Ang challenged Joy to a rock-throwing competition. Rock throwing was a traditional activity in their friends’ tribe. Their parents had shown them all the secrets of rock-throwing. “I’ll hit a star in the sky and bring it down,” Ang threatened, “I’m the best rock thrower in the tribe, and no stars are safe.”

Joy became worried because he knew that Ang wasn’t lying when he said he could bring the stars down, and Ang became excited because he knew that his friend could not stop him. He was ready for victory. Joy did not know how to stop Ang from throwing the rock, so he begged his friend to not hurt the stars. But Ang ignored him.

Ang threw the rock with all his force towards the star and hit it. The impact created a powerful blast that resulted in a shooting star. The blast was so big that both friends felt it. After a couple of seconds, the shooting star vanished. Ang stood there and admired what he had just done, while Joy felt defeated.

Frustrated, Joy thought about quitting, but he didn’t. Ang threatened to throw a second rock. Joy tried to prevent Ang from throwing the rock, but ultimately, it was too late. He threw the rock and hit another star. Joy watched helplessly while the star fell from the sky and landed on the ground. Joy felt devastated and didn’t know what to do. Ang, once again, felt victorious.

Joy felt defeated, and he walked away without saying a word. He wandered around the forest for hours, thinking about how mean Ang had become. The day turned night and he kept walking until dawn. He felt exhausted and decided to rest. He closed his eyes and dreamed that he had found the star and put it back in the sky. Startled by the sound of a woodpecker working hard on a tree, Joy woke up and thought about his marvelous dream, “If only I could fly and make my dream come true.”

Joy kept walking. He observed nature. He saw a trail of tiny ants moving towards a mound. He noticed that the last ant in the line was carrying a large yellow leaf in the shape of a star. The leaf was larger than the ant, but it kept going. It never gave up. This made Joy remember that the lost star was still out there, and all of a sudden, Joy felt hopeful and determined to save the star, whatever it took.

He went from village to village asking if anyone had seen a star fall from the sky, but no one knew about it. Joy kept walking and decided to climb a nearby mountain to see if he could spot it from the top. Once he arrived at the peak, he looked around and saw nothing. After hours of searching in the forest and the mountain, Joy decided to switch directions and walk towards the ocean. He went on a scavenger hunt on the beach. It was covered in shells, all shapes, and colors, but no sign of the star. He didn’t know what the star looked like after falling from the sky. He was afraid the star had lost its brightness. Joy told himself, “What if I never find it? I’ll never forgive myself for allowing Ang to talk me into taking part in the rock-throwing competition! Why does Ang always take advantage of me?”

At last, when he was about to walk back home, Joy saw a shining light and approached it, hoping he had found the star. As he got closer to it, he started to regain his confidence. He kneeled down by the light and he knew that what he was looking at was the beautiful bright shining star that had fallen from the sky. He had never seen anything this big, bright, and colorful. Joy was amazed. Although he was glad to have found the star after such a long time searching everywhere for it, he didn’t know what to do next. Taking the star back to its home, the sky, as he had done in his dream, seemed impossible. Walking away from it without helping made no sense, for he hadn’t put all this energy to find the star just to leave it behind.

Joy then had an idea. He knew what to do. He needed to find a new home for the star. The blue ocean had given him inspiration and peace of mind to make a decision. The ocean water was crystal clear and the waves were so gentle. Joy picked up the star with caution and walked into the ocean until the water reached his knees. He placed the star on the ocean floor with vigilance and whispered to the star, “This is your new home. I hope you’ll enjoy it.” The bright and colorful star turned into a blue starfish. Joy said goodbye to it and left, and he was never seen again, but since that day, starfish live in all oceans around the world. Ang continued to throw rocks at stars when he felt like it, and sometimes a shooting star zooms down from the sky.