Shall I build you a castle by the lake? Pack stone-filled mud into bright coloured plastic to shape its foundation. Should I splash through the cold water and pick pretty pink stones to decorate its walls? Do everything like the first time. I will call you Queen and address you as your Majesty or your Grace. I will bow. I will kiss your hand and we will laugh. We will laugh and hear the high-pitched echoes of our youth. I will feel the ghost of nerves and excitement wondering if I should kiss you. If you would like that. Would you still like that? The wind picks up and your hair moves with it. It whips from right to left. You push it from your face. Small lines near your eyes are the only visible changes from then to now. It is the face I wake up to. The first thing I see every morning when I open my eyes, but here it all feels new again. I want to ask you if you feel that too, but the way you are staring out at the water stops the words. I don’t want to break your concentration.
Shall I search the rocky shore for flat stones? Brush the dirt from their sides and pile them high so that we can spend the afternoon defying gravity skimming the water. I tried to impress you that day, but my first three tries landed with a heavy splash as if I had just opened my hand and let them fall. I could see the laughter pushing against your lips longing to be let loose, but you held them closed. Probably to protect my ego, but then you stepped forward and skipped your first stone three almost four times. I had hoped to step behind you and guide you like all the teenage boys in our year imagined doing. But there you were standing behind me, trying not to laugh as you showed me how to flick my wrist just right. There was so much laughter that day. I don’t know when we lost that. It would be easy to say that it died with him. Harder to admit it flickered out long before he existed. I want to ask you if you are thinking about him, but the tears in your eyes answer for me.
Shall I strip down and run quickly into the rippling water shivering until my body warms against the cold? The sudden exposure of flesh would send giggles past your lips. I would try not to shiver too noticeably so that you would come and join me. You would scream and laugh all the way in. You would wrap your arms around me and we would be happy again. We would let go of everything that has happened. We could do that you know? Here in the place where we started, we could start again. We could end our suffering and become new from our tragedy. After months of silence we could scream. Scream into the wind. Scream until our throats taste bloody. Let loose the pain, the anger, and the quiet that has settled between us. We could come together in this expulsion. Or will this be the end? Is this stop the setting of our conclusion? Will we build our castle by the lake? Or will we say goodbye in the place our little prince never got to see? Well – What will it be?