In the dead of a Florida winter springs the slightest crisp breeze wafting in off the calm rolling shoreline. The air horn-like blasts of the seagulls’ cries linger in the air as tourists and their ever-present snacks have abandoned them to huddle a little more inland to escape the chilled climate waiting for the dew to evaporate along with the sun’s good morning welcome. Like a drying ice bucket, the environment warms gently by noon. And the seagulls commence with glee to their hoodlum activity, accosting and mugging their seashore victims as if it were summer. Protect those roasted hot dogs with your life! And the three-year-old in the flowered bonnet has been violated at once by the white and gray feather creature she once thought of as a friend. He bullied her out of her lunch, and tears have begun staining her cheeks. Soon after, she plops to the ground, to the damp sand beneath her feet, pouring her new-found loss and disappointment into her work—a remedy for heartbreak she will find solace in throughout her lifetime, I suspect—and constructs a majestic castle, complete with sand-dripped towers and a deep saline filled mote. Her parents beam at the perfection in the symmetry of her construct. Little do they know of the recent betrayal and the pain of a lost friend that served as her muse.
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