Out of Reach

He waited until the tide rolled in again before he tried. A sea anemone, waving like a curtain in the breeze, hid the hopeful ocean from his view, and never offered much in the way of conversation. Still, the turtle waited, as he had no other choice; he could only hope for the smell of salty mist to fill his nose or the soft crash of waves, at once both gentle and tumultuous, to let him know when the time was right.
“Hello? Is anyone there? Help me!” he cried out blindly, after a wait so long and lonely it felt like marriage.
A gentle voice responded: “Why, hello there. How are you today, sir?”
The turtle tried to maneuver his neck around to catch a glimpse of his would-be savior, but the source of the voice was difficult to find. “Hello?” he called again. “Who’s there?”
“Just me,” the kind voice replied. “And you would be?”
“Over here. I’m on my back, you see. Is there any way that you could help me?”
“Help you what, good sir?” the other voice inquired.
“To get back on my feet!” the turtle shouted desperately. “I’ll die of starvation if I stay here much longer!”
This time, there was no response; only the crash of a rolling wave.
“Hello? Please, you must help me!” he called out one last time.
“I don’t seem to understand the problem, sir,” the voice said. “The waves should move you somewhere soon enough. What else is there to do but lie around?”
“But my shell is too heavy for the waves to carry. I can’t even look up and see the stars! There’s just a sea of sand here, as far as I can tell.”
“Ah. That is a tragedy, for stars are a beautiful thing. But you can still see the stars without looking up, you know. Come, take a look at me!”
“You are some kind of sea star then, yes?” inquired the turtle.
“Are you not?” replied the voice.
“What? Of course not. I told you, I have a shell! That makes me-“ But the turtle was quickly interrupted by the crash of waves again.
“Well, that’s my ride. Nice talking to you, sir! Take care, and good luck!” shouted the sea star enthusiastically as he was carried out by the waves again.
The turtle sighed deeply, and would have frowned if not for gravity forcing him to smile. He turned his head to speak to the anemone again, but it just kept waving goodbye. In those last moments, the turtle wished for nothing more than to be able to shed the haggard shell that he had worn his whole life; he never thought it fit him well in the first place.

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