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Starfishes on the beach

by Samantha Webber

It had been years now since I last went to visit our family house in ,La Paz, Baja California. Or to be exact, it has been 7 years, 11 months and 47 days since I have last gone along with my family to spend a summer or a holiday in that old seaside house since I stopped going there as soon as I started going to college. Instead of going with my family on vacation, I often choose to spend time on myself and my friends in malls and nightclubs. My parents, always unselfish and understanding, did not force me to come with them but did not miss the chance to ask me a second time if I wanted to change my mind and drive with them. For almost 8 years, my answer had always been no until today.

That doesn’t mean however, that I didn’t go to Baja California during those 7 years, 11 months and 47 days. I occasionally went to Baja California, Tijuana or Los Cabos, in spring break along with my friends or I sometimes go shopping on the weekends here with my sisters. But this is the first time I would again be coming to Baja with my entire nuclear family in order to spend three weeks of continuous vacation time in our La Paz vacation home.

I can’t even remember why I decided to come or how my mother ever persuaded me. All I knew was I have always had a certain amount of dislike for the place ever since I was a little girl. Before, we always spent a few weeks of summer in that house in La Paz City, Baja California. I remember sneaking out when my family is having siesta or afternoon nap because I was afraid of the shadows in the corners and the creaking of the wooden boards which I can plainly see and hear as I lay beside my sisters trying to sleep.

I would walk out to the beach and look for starfishes that have been brought to shore by the waves and then I would pick them up and do them a favor by throwing them back to the sea. Come to think about it, I’m not sure if the starfishes liked being flung to the water or if they had a specific reason to crawl to shore but at the time, I felt as if I was saving the life of each and every starfish I threw back to the rippling water.

And even at night, I was very much afraid of that house by the sea. I could here the crashing of the waves just close by outside and was afraid to wake up and find all th starfishes in the sea thrown onto the beach. But when I do wake up and stroll outside with my sisters, I find that my fear is baseless as only a few unfortunate starfishes end up on the shore after the loud crashing waves at night.

These starfishes were on my mind as we neared the beach house and I suddenly felt a wave of nostalgia and longing for that time of life when I cared about something as seemingly unimportant and insignificant as a stranded starfish on the beach. I have changed over the last time I went to Baja with my family and have been focusing on no one else but myself over these past years. And so I made up my mind to spend a couple of minutes everyday during the three weeks we would be staying to stroll through the beach and return to the sea all the little starfishes dashed to the shore by the waves.

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