She built her dreams in a sand castle

Using children’s toys to build one pillar, and the next

The walls were wet

but stoic

and each one stayed strong under the weight of the next

She thought maybe she should stop

but as the castle got higher and higher

it seemed only right

The base was solid, she thought

So she went higher

It gave her a focus

a distraction of sorts

And she went higher

She admired the way the sun bounced back from the castle

It could not be penetrated

It went higher

Mound after mound

Pillar atop pillar

Each zig-zagged, as sand castles are wont to do

to support their own weight

The castle was strong

It did not crumble

The base was wide and contained many forgotten pebbles

pushed down and split into tiny grains of sand

The castle grew from the play, and the trauma, of youth

And suddenly, she saw

The castle was complete

It was not meant to go higher

or wider

or anywhere

Satisfaction filled her lungs

Then fear escaped – maybe exploded

She had left no room, no place, to get inside

The castle, a fortress, not to be penetrated

And she, on the outside

With no protection from the ocean

It roared in, spewing seaweed, and seashells, and shellfish, and sand dollars

She tiptoed around the pointy edges

and tried not to become tangled in the mess

The dance lasted not a moment

but years

until the water proved too enticing

And she dove right in