Sand Castles

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The sound of children playing on the beach draws me to the window. It's four o'clock and the sight of the busy beach brings back memories. It's been twenty years since I've been here. I used to come with my parents all the time. Mom and I would sit on the shore playing with the sand while my dad went surfing. I remember my mother watching him and cheering for him while I struggled to keep my sandcastle from falling apart. I never managed to do that. Not until I met her.
It was just another ordinary day at the beach, and my mother was reading a book while I tried to build my castle for the millionth time. It kept falling apart, and I was giving up. I let it fall and watched other kids build castles with their moms. I remember wondering how come it was my castle that kept falling. I looked at my mother but she was too into her book.
' It'll only stay up if two people build it together. ' I looked up and saw a girl about my age. She was wearing shorts and a white tee. Her brown hair danced with the light ocean breeze. She was holding a blue pale and a toy shovel that looked just like mine. I never got her name.
She sat down and started building it. I was too shy to talk, and she didn't offer me a chance to say anything, so I silently built the castle with her. We must've spent hours building it, gathering sand, shaping it and keeping it in place. It was the best thing I ever did on the beach. She didn't let anyone near it when we were done. Just me. Other kids came up and tried to play with us, but she told them to go away. She said it was our castle, and she didn't want another kid breaking it.
After a while we both had to leave, but we promised that we'd do this again. My parents took me to the beach again a few days after that, after all, we lived across the street. I saw her again and she built another castle with me. And again nobody was allowed near it. It was our castle, nobody else's.
This continued for months, our parents had started to plan play dates for us on the beach. It became a regular thing. We'd build a castle, then pretend to be living in it. I was the King of the Ocean, and she was the Queen, and nobody was allowed near the castle. She said other kids would break it, they didn't know what it really was. Only I did, because I built it with her. She trusted me and me only.
That was until one day I broke it. I pushed the towers and they all broke. I was scared. She just looked at me though. She looked at me with tears in her eyes. I felt awful and I tried fixing it. I tried so hard, but I couldn't do it without her. She saw that and decided to help me. She wiped her tears and picked up a shovel and helped me rebuild our castle again. When it was back to how it was she smiled at me and said that it's okay, I didn't meant it.
I soon forgot that ever happened, but again, I broke it, only this time, half of it fell apart. This time she didn't cry. She just picked up the shovel and helped me fix it. After we were done, she didn't say a word, just looked at the castle worriedly. Other kids passed by but she didn't bother telling them to go away. She just looked at me, and then the castle.
Our play dates became so often, that we'd see each other everyday. Our parents hired a nanny who would watch us everyday at the beach while they went to work and did their shopping. We built castles everyday. At first she would build the castle closer to her than me, so that I wouldn't break it again. But eventually she forgot, and we went back to building our castle and ruling the ocean from it.
That lasted for a year. Until one day new kids starting showing up on the beach. They were all boys and they played football everyday. By then I was seven, and I liked football. I decided to join them one day. I built the castle, and then ran to join them. She didn't follow, just watched me go and then continued to play on her own with the castle. I started doing that more often, and everyday I'd leave a little sooner than the day before. She never said anything, just played alone with the castle.
It became a habit and I enjoyed it. Everything seemed fine, till I broke the castle one more time. Except this time, I did it on purpose. I shot the ball at it. I shot the ball because I got bored of watching her play alone with the castle. I wanted her to play football with me. I broke the castle and she looked at me and started crying. She never tried fixing it. She just watched it being washed away by the waves. She let it all go away.
We didn't talk on the way home that day, and the next day, she didn'tshowed up. Nor did she show up the day after that, or the day after that. I never saw her again.
I blink and I snap out of it. I look at the beach, and I see a boy and a girl building a castle together. He'll grow up and start playing football. One day he'll break that castle too, but hopefully, he'll learn his lesson. I wish I did. I'd have somebody by my side right now.





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