The Dust Castle

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I watch the child build a castle out of the dust floating in the rays of sunshine from the window.  He plucks them delicately from the air and sets them on top of each other with the focus of a watchmaker.  The child’s back is to me, ...

I watch the child build a castle out of the dust floating in the rays of sunshine from the window.  He plucks them delicately from the air and sets them on top of each other with the focus of a watchmaker.  The child’s back is to me, but I imagine that he wears a serene look on his face.  A look of enjoyment mixed with determination.

The room is empty except for the two of us.  The child places each dust particle in just the right spot. Towers and walls monotonously take shape.  The child pays me no attention and I suspect he doesn’t even know I am watching from the doorway.  There are no sounds from either of us, not even breath as that would blow the castle away.  The child’s magnificent sculpture grows and expands.  He stands up to pick more dust from the air and starts to create tiny armored people along the castle walls.  To my amazement the small knights begin to pace along the wall.

The child adds the finishing touches to a flag rippling in an imaginary breeze.  He stands back slightly to view what he has created.  I want to applaud and exclaim what a wonderful job he did.  He created a kingdom out of dust and gave it life.  I still cannot see his face but I picture it with a small smile from a sense of accomplishment.  Suddenly I feel something wet at my feet.  I look down to see water seeping through the door.  I start to open my mouth to warn the child.  But the floor floods washing away the castle.  The child never stirs.  He watches his creation melt.  Towers crumble and walls collapse.  Knights are thrown into the rushing water.  I view everything horrified.  The water ceases and the wood floor is left bare.  The child never made a noise during the whole ordeal.  I cock my head curious about what his facial expression might be.  He hangs his head and I get ready for sobs, yet none come.  Instead I realize he is intently peering at the floor.  I look down and see that the sun from the window is quickly drying up the water.  A patch of floor becomes dry enough for the child to sit down and instantly he starts to pluck dust particles from the air and begin placing them on the floor, recreating his magical kingdom.

 

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