A Personal Beach Story

By Stephanie Chong (11)


Here’s another story by my prolific writer granddaughter Stephanie, who never at any time wastes in triviality. She’s always either reading or writing, when out shopping, or even at the dining table. She has since written many stories and has since read more than 50 books. Her creative imagination and writing skills are undoubtedly beyond her age.

“Can we rent some bodyboards?” Dad asked a man – who was as brown as dark chocolate in my opinion. He nodded and immediately jogged over to the back, rummaging through a pile of things that I did not know you could acquire from working at a beach all day.


“Is there one for her size as well?” Dad added, pointing at me. The point seemed a little unnecessary to me – I was the only female who looked like I would be close enough to him to bodyboard with him. Anyways, I doubted they made bodyboards specifically for children my size, but the man managed to produce a board that was surprisingly just my size. Feeling all over the baker-miller pink surface, I clutched my temporary bodyboard, a smile spreading over my face.


“Thank you,” I smiled politely at the man, who smiled back gently.


“You’re welcome!” he replied in voice obviously a few octaves higher than his usual voice. Then again, my height did imply that I was a younger age than what I actually was.


The man handed Dad the other three boards, and I hopped down the sandy wooden steps onto the powdery sand.


“Look, it’s high tide,” Dad commented as a giant wave lapped against the shore. Immediately, I raced towards the ocean that was the colour of a glittering aquamarine, water droplets splashing around  me as I leapt about in the water. Strapping the bodyboard to my wrist, I jumped onto it and paddled deeper into the ocean, Daddy following suit.


“A big wave is coming!” I shouted and started paddling towards the shore. The bubbles soon engulfed me as I shot forwards in the water, kicking against it. Soon, I was on the sandy shore of the beach, giggling happily as I clambered to my feet.


Instantly, I grabbed my bodyboard and headed out in the sea again, bobbing about in the water as I waited for giant waves to come. However, after bodyboarding a few more times, I spotted Dad in the sea, searching for something frantically.


Absentmindedly ambling towards him, I wondered if he had gone mad, looking for something in the sea. It was impossible that he would ever find it again. I knew that from experience – when I had gone to the beach a different time for a holiday, I had stupidly tied my hair in a loose braid before stepping into the sea, and the result was one less hair tie in my possession.


Impossible, I berated myself in a mocking tone as Dad loomed closer and closer. You should remember nothing is impossible with God.


“What is it Daddy?” I asked him as a small swell caused me to bob up a bit, my head staying above the water despite the fact that my feet barely brushed the ground.


“Have you seen my phone?” he asked as I floated back down and my feet reached the sandy ocean floor again.


I shook my head, a blanket of fear descending upon me. A phone would be absolutely impossible to find without God’s help – even if someone else found it, they might not give it back. People are so selfish these days.


I dragged my bodyboard to the shore with Mom and started walking carefully along the sand, hoping desperately to find his Note 8. Shells pricked our bare feet, but still we persisted, though I made a mental note to wear my crocs next time something like this unfortunately happened.


Daniel sprinted across the shore and waded in the left side of the ocean, sharing some geography facts that would aid us in finding the phone.


After around 20 minutes, Mom and I bumped into Dad as we searched the shore.


“I’ve been stupid.” He shook sand from his black slippers before slipping them back on. I didn’t understand what he was talking about – obviously he had the sense that Mom and I didn’t have to put on shoes before searching the shell-covered shore.


“What do you think the chance of us finding my phone is?”


“0.42,” I promptly answered my dad, recalling what Brainy had said about Winn in my favourite DC series, “Supergirl”.


“And what about with the help of God?”


Oh, now I understood.




Dad went to call Daniel back from the sea and they returned, racing back with news. Apparently Daniel had asked a stranger with a snorkel to help us search, but he didn’t seem to care and went on lying lazily on a donut floatie.


Well, at least it was something.


We formed a circle and bowed our heads, and for a while, we were silent. Just when I was going to ask when we were going to pray, Dad spoke.


“Heavenly Father God, please help us find my phone. I have been foolish to bring my Note 8 into the sea, but please help us. I have learned my lesson. In Jesus name, Amen.”


“Amen,” three more voices chimed in.


Dad brushed his hands together. “Well, let’s let Father God work his miracle.”


Returning to the inviting cool water, Dad, Daniel and I swam way out to the furthest part of the ocean that we were allowed to swim in. When we reached it, I was surprised to find other people in a place I thought no one would think to go. On our left, I spotted a small western posse consisting of a little girl and what seemed to be her father (though his hair was a rather bright shade of white) who weren’t holding onto anything floating, and seeing the blonde-haired girl paddle around made me feel embarrassed that I was holding onto my baker miller pink bodyboard. Then I realised that westerns were much taller than people from Hong Kong – myself being a prime example – and assumed that the father/grandfather was probably tall enough to reach the ocean floor from so far out.


“Beep, beep!” A lifeguard boat trundled in the water, the man hard at work paddling the oars through the water, as he told us to move left. Dad turned to us and suggested that we returned to Mom, who was probably feeling a little bored at the moment, so we turned and started paddling.


On the way, Dad picked up random bits and bobs from the littered ocean floor, announcing that he wanted to help those poor turtles, even if just a little, for the sake of our own pet turtle Shelly Shell (otherwise known as Miss Shell). The pile of random widgets kept growing, until Dad’s sickening yellow-green bodyboard could hardly hold both his weight and all the stuff he had collected.


“Daddy, I think by the time we reach the shore Ariel’s secret stash of gadgets and gizmos will really get a lot barer,” I giggled, observing all those things.


“Whose Ariel?”


Sometimes people just can’t learn.


When we reached the shore (we had returned a lot sooner, since a huge wave had very kindly pushed us all the way back on the beach), Mom raced out to us, shouting whether we had seen the keys for the lockers we had rented. When we shook our heads, Mommy sighed and frowned at the water.


“First the phone, now the keys,” I grumbled to myself as I kicked the water.


“Fish pee in you all day!” I quoted Moana as I stomped about. The ocean didn’t seem to care, or seperate like in the movie I loved so much. I suppose it got used to the phrase after the big hit that is Moana got released.


Maybe I am a teensy bit of a Disney fan.


After searching for only a while (a lot shorter than we had for the phone, since apparently that flat piece of electronic that would be easily replaceable was more important than our belongings), we concluded that the best solution would be to, very embarrassedly, confess to the lifeguard that we had lost the keys.


This could either go down really bad, or really really bad. Neither of them were really wanted.


When we trudged our way the office, the lifeguard lifted his shades and squinted at us. Perhaps he needed glasses.


“Note 8?” he asked in not very good English, because, after all, this was Hong Kong.


“Come again?”


The lifeguard strode into a room, and when he came out, he produced a Note 8 that looked eerily similar to Dad’s. He stared at Dad as if waiting for him to do something.


“Yours?” he asked again.


Dad gingerly took the phone from the lifeguard’s hands – which would be considered a rude action if not for the tension so thick that you could slice it with a knife. Slowly, he turned on the Note 8, and the screen became bright before morphing into the same background as Dad’s phone.


“This is a promising start,” Mom noted calmly.


On the other hand, I cried out, prancing about like a madwoman. “It works, Daddy, it works!”


Mom quickly took out her own white IPhone and dialed Dad’s number to prove that it was really his phone, and to our delight, the phone really was! Thank goodness – how was I going to Clash Royale with him without that phone?


“Thank you God, thank you! We couldn’t have done it without you, Lord,” we thanked, and rushed off to tell Daniel, who was still bodyboarding, probably leaving the non-Christian lifeguard very puzzled.


For a long time afterwards, this event was the subject of our conversations most of the time. Daddy kept pointing out how amazing God’s grace was and I kept celebrating with ice creams. Even after months, this event was my excuse to enjoy ice cream, and as I told Dad, you could never have enough ice cream. Thank you Father God for letting me experience your grace and have lots of ice creams celebrating the occasion!



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