The Heart of the Ocean

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A Sandcastle by the Sea


“We built sandcastles that washed away.”

-Beyonce


-Twelve Years Ago-

It was a warm day of August. The sound of chattering people and water splashing could be heard all across the crowded beach. Some people swam happily in the crystal-clear waters in their attempt to cool their sweaty bodies off. Others were laying under huge umbrellas that protected them from the sun’s rays, drinking frozen cocktails and having fun.

Little Aide was sitting on the wet sand near the sea. She began to cry when she saw that the sandcastle, which she was trying to build for so long, broke down as soon as a wave touched it. The wet sand was sliding down the pile she had put it in and returning back to the sea.

Her beloved mother, hearing her sorrow-filled sobs, approached her small form and sat down beside her. Not bearing to hear the heartbreaking cries of her only child, she seated her trembling form on her lap and started bouncing her in an attempt to calm her down

“Oh my darling, do not cry for you can make a better one”, the mother told her while stroking the sand-filled locks of her sweet daughter. However, the five-year-old was truly sad.

She had tried so hard to build her castle. She wanted it to look like the one that belonged to her favorite Princess Ariel from the “Little Mermaid”. Even though it wasn’t even close to it, she had spent so much time and had put a lot of effort into it. She was frustrated that all her attempts were washed away by the sea, not believing that her hard work has been destroyed.

“Waves will always come and go but we have to learn to overcome them”, her mother coaxed her with sweet words, wiping her tears from her rosy cheeks and kissing her on her forehead as she used to do whenever she saw her upset.

This made her feel a little better and the tears finally stopped falling from her glassy, chocolate eyes. She hugged her mother’s petite figure and stood up from her position, trying to clean herself from the sand that was sticking on her skin.

“You’re right, mama, I will build a better one,” she said with renewed encouragement and gave her mother a chase kiss on her cheek as she giggled.

“That’s my sweet girl! Do not let such small things disturb you”, said the mother to her precious daughter. With a last kiss on her cheek, she let her continue her work and returned back to her husband, who was resting under a colorful umbrella.

As soon as her mother left her, little Aide took hold of her yellow bucket and pink shovel, returning back to work. She began to fill her small bucket with wet sand and turning it around on the dry ground in order to build the new towers of her palace. Her small fingers painted deep designs on the sandy walls as if she was drawing them on paper. She was now convinced that she would build the best sandcastle at the beach. This time she would make it -no wave could stop her.

Indeed, after a long time, she managed to complete her work, which to her pleasure came out much better than the previous one. This castle was by far larger and visibly more beautiful than the one she had built before. She stood up and wiped the sweat that had gathered on her forehead as she looked down at her achievement, admiring her evolved sandcastle.

“Hmmm it looks like Ariel’s palace...“, thought the little girl, pulling her tangled hair out of her eyes, “...but something is missing.”

She felt that her castle was still not perfect -its sandy walls were too empty and simple-looking for her liking. She turned towards her parents, wanting to ask their opinion, but she saw that they were both enjoying the summer day by sunbathing and decided not to disturb them. She would have to find a solution by herself to make it look better.

“Maybe if I decorate it with seashells, it will be more beautiful”, she finally came to a conclusion after making a turn around it and watching it intently.

Yes. The castle would definitely look much better with beautiful seashells decorating its walls. She nodded to herself at the positive prospect of the idea and jumped around excitedly. She had already made her decision, so after she had cleaned her sand-filled bucket in the water, she started her search.

Fortunately, the beach was filled with different and beautiful shells. There were shells of all kinds and colors -shiny red and simple white ones, large scallops and small tulip ones. Others were deep in the sand and she had to dig to find them, while others were on the surface, so she easily picked them up.

And as she went further along the seacoast, she found numerous and more unique shells. They were becoming bigger and bigger in size, making her more excited than before. The little girl was grabbing and browsing them under the sunlight, before putting them in her bucket happy with herself and moving further to find more.

She felt like Dora the explorer...like she was on a secret adventure where she had to find magical objects to save the world and become a hero. So concentrated in her quest she was, that she completely tuned out what was happening around her. She just kept walking along the seaside, finding precious shells and putting them safely in her small bucket, pretending she was founding pieces of an unimaginable treasure.

After a considerable amount of time had passed and her bucket was so full that her little hands began to hurt from the weight of the shells, she put down her bucket and lifted her head up. Her small hand wiped away the sweat that had formed on her forehead by the sun’s warm rays. Only then did she realize how far away from her family she had ventured.

Aide had walked so much that she had found herself on the other side of the beach. She had reached a completely isolated part of it, where not even a single person was in sight. Although she was completely alone and there was no one near her, she could still hear the noise that people made as they were splashing in the water from the other side of the beach. This was something that reassured her and gave her courage, making her unafraid of the situation.

“This side of the beach is different from the other”, the little girl thought, seeing that it had more and sharper rocks here and that the water was a little deeper than where she could swim.

“I’ll wet my feet for a while and then I’ll show my shells to mama”, she decided and walked into the sea just enough to clean her little feet in the water, holding her pretty summer dress to keep it from getting wet.

The cold seawater was a pleasant sensation to her little feet, which were tired of walking on the hot sand while looking for fancy shells. Having cleaned her legs, she turned to take her bucket from where she left it and was ready to return to her half-finished sandcastle. However, she suddenly saw something shiny in the water, making her stop her movements.

Her short stature did not allow her to see what it was and in her attempt to explore the fancy object that had spiked her curiosity, she began to climb on a rock that was close by and that would allow her short frame to discover what was shining in the salty water. When she managed with great difficulty to climb on it, she noticed that there was a pond of seawater surrounded by other rocks in front of her and that there were other pretty shells in it. But what truly caught her eye was the large shiny shell that reflected the sunlight perfectly and was stuck to the walls of a rock. Its deep blue color caught her eye immediately and she knew she had to put it in her collection.

“This will be the most beautiful shell on my castle,” she thought to herself, her eyes not moving away from the unique giant cockle.

Deciding that she wanted to get a hold of it, she stretched her hands in an attempt to catch it. However, her short arms weren’t able to reach it as it was at a bigger distance than what she had calculated. The shell was stuck on a rock that was on the other side of the pond -no matter how much she tried, Aide wouldn’t be able to get it. However, she was set on getting a hold of it. The little girl wouldn’t give up so easily -she was a stubborn little thing. She wasn’t a quitter and she wouldn’t accept the fact that she was too short to reach it.

So, she tried to spread her body a little further, hoping that she’ll reach it. Its fascinating blue color tantalizing her vision and making her try harder. She stepped closer to the rock’s edge and spread her figure moreover to get it, but all her efforts were in vain.

“If I try some more, I’ll get it,” she mumbled to herself as an encouragement, not ceasing her attempts.

However, she should have stopped her attempts as soon as she realized that she couldn’t reach it. As she moved her body a little bit further, she unexpectedly lost her balance since she was already on the rock’s edge. Before she could realize what exactly had happened, she found herself inside the salty pond surrounded by the blue of the ocean.

The water was much deeper than she had originally thought. She began to sink fast towards the bottom. She wasn’t prepared when she fell inside the pond -her mouth was open and it filled with salty water that burned her lungs as she tried to scream. Young Aide tried to desperately move her limbs as her dad had tried to teach her. But for some unexplainable reason, she could not synchronize her hands and feet as she continued to sink more and more in the ocean’s depths.

Her chest felt like it was set on fire, making her to desperately want to swim to the surface and take a much-needed breath of air. However, she could do nothing else in the situation she had found herself in. She could only watch the beautiful shells that were stuck on the rock’s walls glowing as the sun’s rays hit them, while she was falling steadily to the bottom of the sea.

Tears began to fall from her eyes when she thought of the reaction of her beloved mother and her loving father. They left her chocolate eyes and became one with the salty water that surrounded her drowning form, reminding her that she would very soon be also a part of the ocean. She would very soon have a wet grave at the deep bottom of it until the water washed away her remains.

“Mommy said I should not wander too far from them,” she thought miserably when she began to realize that she would probably never see them again.

Oh, how much she wanted to feel her mother’s fingers caressing her dark locks like she did whenever she was distressed. She wanted her father to hold her in his strong arms and give her one of his amazing teddy bear hugs. She wanted to give them sweet kisses, only to hear them laugh in delight at her usual antics. She wanted to see their familiar faces once again and scream to them how much she loved them. But all these things seemed too far away now as the surface of the water was getting further away from her grasp.

Having no more air in her lungs and with her chest burning excruciatingly, she opened her mouth in an attempt to breathe. Her eyelids began to close and her limbs stopped moving completely, as water filled her insides. Her arms stretched above her head as if to reach the surface. Her brunette locks seemed like a mahogany crown on her head as they floated around her. Black dots began to block her vision as she began to lose her eyesight.

“Will I meet grandpa in heaven?“, was her last thought as she was gazing up at the blue sky from the opening of the pond.

The last thing she saw before she completely lost her senses and everything around her disappeared, was a black figure swimming fast towards her sinking form, all the while hiding the view of the shiny shells.

After she registered a pair of gleaming purple eyes looking intently at her, she fell into the sweet relief of the complete darkness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

End of chapter 1!!

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