From where I sit stretched far from people and water, I watch a little girl as she sits hunched playing with sand and water. Running to and fro from the waves, she was absorbed in building a sand castle. Or so it looked.
A little boy stands at a distance watching her. As if on cue, she looks up towards him and waves. He comes forward eagerly, thick hair tousled in the wind, eyes bright, face clean as a shiny new penny.
Hemming at the edge, he asks “what are you doing?”
“Building a sand castle. Do you want to help?”
“Yea sure, am good at it!”
“O really? Thank you! Here, you can use this pail, and I have 2 shovels too.” Handing over her little pieces of plastic she excitedly digs deeper.
“No wait, let’s build higher up. You are too close to the waves. The water will come and wash our castle away”
And so they move up further away from the surf. The sand gets dug deep, water gets fetched, molds are made, little hands form passage ways, strong palms shape the wet solid sand. Towers are standing, a curtain gets added, we need to make the keep strong, here, let’s add a peak, how about some turrets. O yes, that looks good, but see, this tower is taller, no, I don’t like it that way. Okay, let’s make it smaller, is this better? Oh no, we forgot the dungeons, what do we do? Well, dungeons are for bad people. In our kingdom, no one’s bad. So we don’t really need one. We can build a moat if you want, and a drawbridge – that should make it grand right? Do you like it? Yes, yes, I love it. Here, I made this little flag for the Keep. I am scared I’d bring the whole thing down if I go any closer. Here, hold my hand, and I will hold on to you, while you reach closer. Yay! There, I did it! I did it!
She jumps around the castle in glee, gives him a hug and says “Thank you so much, you are my bestest friend ever”
“You are my friend too” He smiles.
“Okay, come let’s play?” She asks, her almond eyes lit in the fading light as the sun takes a dip in the water.
“No, I have to go. I can’t play. Maybe some time later?” he starts walking back.
“Are you going to come back?” she asks disappointed.
“Yes. Soon.” He runs away without turning back.
So she sits beside her pregnant promising castle.
With every moon that waxed, she grew smaller. The moat fills, the drawbridge goes under, the right wing, and then the left, melting into one’s own, until just the flag could be seen from far far away. Thoughts and memories turn into sparkly crystals in the wet sand, some clinging onto her tiny brown toes, some riding the wave, it seemed like they were on the move. A tussle between the choices.
I hear her murmer to no one in particular: “is Soon there yet?”