...causing it to stretch and flex. I sat there and watched it for a while, marvelled as this creature moved and stretched under the light of it's distant cousin and thought to myself how much alike we were.
And how different. Jealousy took me then and to my shame I bent down, my pen knife in my hand and clipped an arm from the creature. Unlike me it would grow back, it would heal from it's wounds with ner'y a scar. Me, I was made of scars.
I slipped the arm into a pocket, followed by the knife and watched as the starfish twisted and curled in pain and discomfort. I felt nothing, I felt numb.
"Simon!" I yelled, "SIMON! The salt, it's irritating me!"
No-one came. "SIMON!"
"I'm here brother, Jesus Christ will you calm down!"
"I thought you'd left me."
"You know I wouldn't do that."
I grunted. Sometimes I wish he would. His protection now filled me with as much rage as his abandonment before. He slid his arms under my arm pits and lifted me up to cradle me like a baby. When I was secure he carried me back to the car, then returned to the beach to tidy away the towel and other things I had discarded there.
A girl stopped him as he walked back and I could read her lips from across the parking lot.
You're so good with him. It's amazing.
It's nothing. That's right, that's all I am, nothing. He's my brother, we're twins you know.
Really? You look nothing alike.
I feel bitterness rise within me and yell out the car door.
"SIMON! Get away from that skank and help me! I think I crapped my pants. It's all over the seats!"
I saw his shoulders drop, the girl become embarrassed, make her excuses and leave. Simon walked on over.
"You want me to clean you up?"
I glared at him. "Never mind, false alarm."
I felt a little bit of triumph as the anger broke through the surface.
"Jesus Mark! What the hell is your problem!? You're never going to let up are you? Never gonna give me some slack? I'm sorry, okay, I'm more sorry than you'll ever know."
"You're sorry? You? How dare you be sorry! Look at me! Look at what you did, what your carelessness cost me!" I screamed at him. "And you're sorry? I'M SORRY! You! You don't have the right."
He slammed his hand against the door in frustration.
"You know what, you're right. You're right. You're absolutely right. But I am sorry. Sorry I ever bothered to save you. You're not my brother, you're just some broken mirror copy, you're not even human any more, you're just guilt personified and I've had about enough of your crap. Get out!"
"What? How dare-"
"Get the HELL OUTTA MY CAR!"
He didn't give me another chance, pulled me out of the car and dragged me along the ground, leaving me sprawled out on the asphalt. He got into the drivers seat, slammed the door and started the car.
The window slid down. "You want to be sorry. Fine. Be sorry. By yourself."
And he drove off.
I lay there stunned, the salt air and the vicious, beating sun making my shiny plastic skin itch. Not knowing what to do, I pulled the curling, damp arm of the star fish from my pocket and held it up in front of my face.
Maybe some things never grow back.