We went to Virginia Beach a couple years ago, my family and I. Age 16. We stayed with my aunt and uncle, who had two kayaks. (Kayaking is and always will be one of my favorite activities.) They also lived directly on the beach.
One morning I was building a sand castle, and there was a group of little kids freaking out, so we headed over to see what was up. When we got close, there was this huge ol' jellyfish just swooshing around in the shallows where people swim, and the kids were all scared / intrigued by it. So my dad gets our net and fills our bucket with sea water (we're experienced with catching sea animals) and he puts the jellyfish in. The kids all gather round to check it out.
"What are you going to do with it?" one kid asks my dad.
"I guess I'll bury it in the sand," said my dad, "because I can't let it go here where people are swimming."
So the kids watched it for a few more minutes, and then they sort of lost interest and went back to playing.
"Don't worry, I've got this." I said to my dad.
I went and got the kayak.
I filled the jellyfish bucket with more water and then strapped it into the back seat of the kayak with those stretchy cables that people use in cars. Then I set out.
I battled my way out for more than half an hour, way past the pier. I was so far from the shore that I had no idea where I had set out from; the entire stretch of beach I had ever explored was just a short line on the horizon.
Then I put the bucket on my lap, and looked in.
"Goodbye. Stay out here, okay?" I said aloud to the jellyfish, and then dumped it into the water.
It danced around in the sunlight for a moment, as if to show me that it was really grateful, and then it disappeared instantly beneath the water. I started heading back toward shore. It's way harder to go back than to go out. I thought about my new jellyfish friend as I began the very, very long kayak ride back to the beach.
A couple minutes into the trip, it hit me: I had forgot to ask its name.