The Kindness of a Stranger – A Charleston Starfish Story

By, Minta Pavliscsak

The day started out as any other day; the sun had just peaked over the horizon and my tummy was starting to rumble. I was carelessly bobbing along with the current in search for some breakfast reaching out to cling onto any rock I may float by that happened to have a clam or mollusk attached to it. I wasn’t having much luck today though.

Then I spied a delicious looking cluster of oysters just off to my right and I tried with all my might to maneuver myself towards it. Alas, the gravity of the incoming tide was too strong for me and it pushed me right past. I wasn’t worried, not yet anyway. This happens often enough, but the ocean is vast and there are plenty of opportunities for a tiny starfish like me to find breakfast. Only today, today was different. Today I just kept floating.

Soon I found myself crawling along the bottom of the ocean with the top of the water descending closer and closer to me. I lost control of my movements as the waves took over my direction. It wasn’t long before I was on the beach under a large wooden pillar structure.

As I crawled on the wet sand, I could hear the sound of dogs barking and feel the footsteps of many people passing by. I tried calling out to them for help, but given that our mouths are underneath us, starfish can’t project very well. Keeping as calm as I could, I began to work my way back towards where I thought I would find the comfort of the ocean. After some time, this seemed to be in vain. I began to wonder if I would ever get back home. Had I known last night’s meal was my last, I would have made it a much nicer one. I would have called my parents and told them I loved them. Do my friends know how much they mean to me? Was I nice enough to strangers I had met along my path? As these thoughts passed through my head and I thought surely this was the end for me, I was scooped up by a warm, gentle hand.

I had no clue what to expect next. I was frozen in fear as I was carried around and put on display for another human being. Suddenly, I was joined by another, smaller starfish. Not knowing what else to do, I began trying to crawl away. Of all things, the human started to laugh! This had to be a good sign, so I moved all my legs with all my might. I heard even more laughing as I could see that my new friend and I were being carried towards the ocean. The next thing I knew, my friend and I were flying through the air, twirling around and around, and splash! We landed gratefully in the ocean. We exchanged Twitter handles and promised to stay in contact through Facebook, then said our goodbyes. As I swam home, completely forgetting about breakfast, I called my parents as updated my status to “thankful”. I will never forget about that kind human on the beach. Sometimes it takes almost losing it all to realize just how much you really do have.

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