RECIPIENT OF SECOND PLACE IN OUR FLASH CREATIVE NONFICTION CONTEST FOR WRITERS AGES 13-15
Jellyfish have existed for more than 500 million years, predating the dinosaurs — and humanity, for that matter — by millions of years. While the earth has morphed and formed scars through the ages, changing as seasons would, jellyfish have simply remained. Here, floating through the abyss of the oceans, they’ve seen far greater things yet simply exist for the sake of
Egg, my pet moon jellyfish, can’t exactly experience night or day. Only guided by the confines of her tank, Egg wanders aimlessly. Depending on where the tank is in relation to the light outside, but more so depending on her internal clock, Egg sleeps and then wakes up.
There’s honestly no real way to tell when Egg sleeps, except through her general unresponsiveness and lack of energy. In contrast, Egg has much more energy whenever she floats around looking for food as she darts from one side of the tank to the other.
Though jellyfish are known as creatures without brains, I think Egg is more than capable of feeling. Though the conclusion is tentative, it is speculated that jellyfish are capable of thought, or at least have the mental faculties to avoid pain and seek safety. Thus, I like to think the most interesting moments are when Egg dreams. Her dreams might begin with calm. Silence, as hazy gelatinous sheep are dreamed up for Egg to count. As the imaginary sheep grow weary, Egg’s dream transitions to her slowly migrating to undisturbed shores and clean sand. Egg dreams of both the past and present, not stuck, but meandering the limbo of what it truly means to live life.
Moon jellies prefer to be surrounded by warm water. They thrive in tropical environments, which translate in Egg’s dreams of warmth and sun while taking in salty air through her entire nervous system. Egg walks on sandy beaches with her tentacles, the bell of her head arching beneath the dome of the sky. Each nap returns Egg to the brilliant beaches with soft white sand and pliant waves. Timid sun, cool breeze. In moments where food isn’t a concern, the subtlety of her true wants and desires shine. A world where moon jellies can sink into the tropical waters and nestle their saucer-shaped heads between floating bits of seaweed and finally feel they are able to rest from an eternity of living. For Egg, her deepest desire is to find her final moments along a white-sand beach, blue sky curving to smile beneath her.
Every time I see Egg floating about, alive, I wonder. Does Egg know how long her legacy has been carried? She may be young, but does she feel the ancient desire for rest in her soul? I’ve come to the conclusion that for a creature as small and delicate-looking as Egg, she holds aspirations that aren't big, but rather beautifully modest. Egg can’t speak to me nor actively communicate her feelings most of the time, but she acts as my muse. One day, I hope, my tales of pure beaches and serene peace will welcome her and many other blooms once they pass.
Melinda Wang is a high schooler living in Santa Monica, California. She has been recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and Polyphony Lit for her fiction and creative nonfiction. Her favorite school subject is English and she enjoys writing about the natural world and her lived experiences, often through fiction and poetry. In her free time, she enjoys learning how to empower others through words, bird watching, and learning about whales.
"Moon jellyfish" by computerjoe is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/?ref=openverse.