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January 27th, 2019
During a childhood summer, the father of Lucilius took the boy down the rocky headland to the water where a wooden dock rose and slowly fell with the tide. The clear and healthy water gave view to the colors of the bottom, laid with thick bunches of mussels and the bright purples and orange of starfish. Lucilius’ father sat to read while his son swam about in the warm water.
As the sun grew high in the sky, Lucilius grew more curious about the colorful bottom. Crouching at the edge of the dock he studied a purple starfish that seemed not to move at all. Lucilius’ father noticed and prompted.
“Why don’t you dive down and bring it up.”
Lucilius looked quickly at his father. “No,” he said.
“Why not? They don’t bite.”
Lucilius looked back down at the creature and fear grew throughout him. The boy wanted to dive down. He was curious, but something seemed strange and terrifying.
“Go ahead,” his father prompted once more.
And the more his father prompted him, the more Lucilius grew frightened. His father tried to reason with the boy about how harmless the creature was, but to no avail. And soon they had to give up on the whole idea, but Lucilius kept crouched at the edge of the dock staring down at the bright creature.
It was then another boy and a young girl came down to the dock to enjoy the warm water and sun. The two swam about in the water and then as Lucilius had, took a notice to all the creatures on the bottom. They were on the other side of the dock and the girl pointed.
“Look how bright that one is!”
Lucilius looked back at the purple starfish he’d been watching and then called to them. “Check this one out.”
The boy and the girl both came over and looked, and indeed, Lucilius had already found the biggest starfish around the dock.
“Wow,” the little girl said, “ I wonder what it feels like.”
The other boy remarked. “We should go get it.”
And before the boy could act on his own words Lucilius dove into the water and swam down to the bottom. He took the huge starfish by a leg and gently lifted it from the bottom, swam back and hoisted it up on the dock.
“Wow,” the little girl exclaimed. Lucilius smiled, wiping the water from his eyes, and it was then his father began to laugh.
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