Sandcastles – Tony O’Halloran

I dunked you beneath the waves and laughed as you threatened retribution. 

We were the couple sharing a sunny secret, cooked vegetarian lasagna, assembled flatpack without a single fight, found each other under that tree. Beneath your sheets I came to wonder what it all could be. 

You asked me to write so I wrote for you, inspired by American Townlands 

A friend’s suicide attempt dragged me back under the waves I soon learned winter rapids are unforgiving. You stood by me 

I wrote 

You stood by me 

I broke down when I couldn’t cry 

You stood by me 

I tried to stand by you. New Year’s came And so did hope I was filled with absolution But currents flow, one of us was always going to have to let go. 

I just didn’t think it would be you. 

The end seemed to arrive as the beginning once had. Unexpectedly, but unsurprisingly. The mood was terse before it was heavy, a slow push gave way to a slow flood of thoughts. Despite the demise I was relieved to see our struggles were the same. As we let each other go we held each other closely, far more closely than we could when we held on tight 

to our convictions, to our dreams, to the hopes we promised each other. Where once by on a hill or by a lake began our lives together lay the sad smiles of past lovers. My only grief was acceptance. 

I must have passed through the other stages as I tossed and turned in late mornings, through sundry alarms and no self blessings. I have no doubt I love you but more than the end, I feared the sad erosion. 

Sandcastles are built for the summer, for months they have weathered spring tides. Waves wreck our autumn defences as we hold back the tears in our eyes. Steeping back, we smile at our towers and hold hands as dreams wash away. 

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