Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: The Saddest Sand Castle

She ran all the way down to the end of the towels. Her father pointed her further, so she went further, but as soon as the old man relented, she paused and scouted her realm.

Beige sand, fine as powder, swallowed her toes. She watched the waves come in, refreshing the sand at the end to dark brown. Anything she built there would be destroyed.

She took two handfuls of the wet stuff and carried it to her construction site. She dribbled it in a spiral that wound up looking too much like dog poo. She nearly kicked it over when she spied the waves again. Whatever she built, they’ve consume it. Unless she was careful.

She dragged her heel to make a square foundation. This was her true domain. She hunkered on all fours at the outskirts of that domain, heaving sand into dunes that were half her own height. When it exhausted her, she slumped her chest against the protective sand-walls and regarded the sea. Still it ebbed and flowed. Closer now, too. They might eat through one defense.

So she sprawled over her barrier dunes and scraped into the beach. She dug a moat around her barriers; a sand canyon after a sand mountain range. To her dismay, she struck water. If she went deep enough, the stuff had already gotten under her foundation.

Moats were imperfect. So she took all her new-dug sand and formed a second wall. She trolled the beach for shells and rocks, and jammed handfuls of them into every wet lump of building material. It had to be a stern wall. They all had to be.

She was on the fourth wall when her father hollered. Time to go to dinner and home. She jerked her head up. But she hadn’t had time to build the castle this was supposed to defend. Her father, a tyrant of a brick-and-mortar castle, refused to listen. She cried and was dragged past her foundation, past her lonely dog poo-shaped sand structure.

As they pulled from the parking lot, she could see the insipid tide. It was already eating her fourth wall. All that time and she’d never built the amazing kingdom. The beach provided only weak materials. Next time, she’d have to bring her own. A sand castle made of cement blocks. That’d show the tide.


  1. I love this so hard. Those last two lines - intrepid little-girl architect is adorable! And awesome.

  2. Having lived this with my own daughter, I can attest to the truth in it. #momface

  3. These are some of my favorite kinds of your work. Great stuff.

  4. Cement blocks would certainly do the trick!

    Nice descriptive writing John.

  5. If you get a little girl that is that determined, watch out! :) I love the story, John.


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