A Handful of Sand




He wanted to be clear. As he watched the waves bringing in the sand and shells, then retrieving them in a constant repetitive motion, his mind thought of their relationship. He needed to tell her that he could not do it. He couldn’t sacrifice everything he’s worked for, his family, his lifestyle, even for her. Whoever said love conquers all was mistaken. Not even the love he felt for her, the compassion, the longing, want, need — none of these combined could win. He had been trying for a long time, it seemed, to ultimately be down to this. It wasn’t only a matter of giving up, even though that would be an uneasy performance in its own way. It was impossible. So much for that old saying, too. Who were these people, making statements that inevitably prove untrue? Is it so unrealistic to believe them, count on them getting you through your day?

Summing up the courage to tell her was difficult, but had to be done. The fantasy, the dream, all of it, was dangerously enticing. He tried to believe in it as she did, struggled to see the world through her eyes, her impractical expectations. For a while he thought he could manage it. Hurting her was the last thing in his mind, but he couldn’t fulfill the dream. It was almost a rant of reality, surfacing every little while, educating them in the sorrow of truth.

The connection was always there. They both tried to ignore it and it would sneak away for a while and then creep back, always, creating that unrequited dream again. How many times had he said goodbye only to return? How much can the heart take, broken, mended and broken again? All the joy, laughter, tears, over and over. Is this a real love? Can something so sweet be unbearable torture at the same moment?

He bent down and lifted a handful of sand. As he stood up, he let the sand slowly leave his grip. This is life he thought. You reach, and hold for a bit, but eventually you have to let it go and travel on.

Weekly Writing Prompt #84

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