All of this really happened.
It really pissed me off when they destroyed my third sand castle. How would you feel if you were 11 years old and those teenagers would have destroyed your work? When they did it for the first time I let it slide. That castle was no good anyway. The second time they ran over my castle I got mad but for a short time: I just came to the idea of the third one, even better. And now they trampled on my crown jewel, my best creation, the one I wanted to show to my dad? No way I could leave that without punishment. They were to pay. Of course, they were big, mean boys and I was just a nerdy, overweight kid. The beach was full of people and castles; nobody gave a damn about my problem. I was on my own.
It was a gorgeous day, sunny, but not humid. Everyone was having fun; a group of people were playing basketball right close to me. The teenagers who destroyed my castle scattered around the players; there was a happy commotion and they all dumped into the river together. I looked at them and the desire for revenge filled my heart. Or at least I imagined that.
To complete my project I moved away from the water, closer to the shady woody area. There I worked for a while preparing a lot of moist sand, moving away all the dry sand and gathering the necessary materiel. Then I dug a huge pit in the middle of the lot and put a lot of harmful stuff on the bottom: sharp stones, sticks, nails and pieces of glass. Then I covered the pit with a thick layer of branches. And after that I very carefully erected a magnificent castle on those branches- all made of dripping wet sand. It was a temptation of rare desire; there were gothic towers and even arches- all inviting the mischievous teenagers to jump on them like they did with my previous ones. Only this time" this time they were up for a surprise.
I worked for a while, even forgot about food. Nobody bothered me; my parents were still at the beach, they could see me from there, so they were not worried. I could complete everything up to the standard. When the castle was finished I gave it a satisfied look and moved away from it to arrange for a convenient position to watch from afar. There I quietly sat, waiting.
Nothing happened for a while. Teenagers were still busy at the beach. Adults passed by, one even made a photo of the castle. I waited patiently. I figured it could take maybe an hour for the brats to come up. That's when I saw him: the toddler.
He was a real gem. A boy of about 4, neatly dressed with that adorable panama hat, one of those with red spots all around. He was barefoot and those two feet were making deliberate steps as if a big multicolored mushroom was moving promptly and steadfastly towards my deadly contraption. I felt nauseated.
At first I tried to distract him. But you know those toddlers; when they have a goal in mind nothing can stop them. The kid continued to advance, visibly curious and maybe even impressed by the beauty of my castle because he was all smiles, although not saying anything. He sort of brushed aside all my efforts to redirect him. A distance of several feet remained between him and the trap. I could, of course, scare him away but I was sure the kid would then start crying and screaming, the people would all rush to the scene, discover my work and that would mean very unfortunate consequences. So I decided instead to destroy the castle myself if the kid comes too close; I was not that bad a boy to harm a toddler.
But the kid suddenly stopped. He surveyed the castle from the distance, then circled it around, sort of picked up a right line of sight. Then he produced a long plastic toy spade (I swear, I don't know where he got it from) and from a safe distance, meticulously and methodically destroyed my castle, towers and all. The kid worked with all the due diligence. When the job was nicely done he put his shovel on the shoulder, turned around and went away with the same deliberate pace. But for a very short moment it seemed to me that he gave me a look- a very strange look, really, just a glance. That was a wise glance, though, as if he knew. Even until now I am not sure about that glance; maybe it was a figment of my imagination?
I disarmed my trap, threw away all the branches also bad stuff and filled the pit with sand. I felt very tired, empty but somehow satisfied, even in peace. I did not care for those teenagers anymore; they could not take away my new skill of building castles and all-in-all the castle is there for beauty and admiration, not for malice and harm. Malice and harm" those words came to my head for the first time that day. I felt that I grew up.
This is the first time I tell this story on paper. I think I got the message on that day: malice never works. Malicious intent can only harm the innocent. No matter how insulted you feel, how bitter and how enraged, you should not succumb to shallow malice, you should not plan the deliberate harm whether to individuals or nations. You should try to see through it.
In my life I hated a lot of people, disliked a lot of people and loathed a lot of people. I am not a saint and I have to admit that many times the idea of making harm to them got into my head, especially when I saw them operating with impunity and getting away with anything. But whenever that happened an apparition would appear in front of me and again I would have been on that beach, alone and in rage, saved by the wise glance of the funny moving mushroom with a spade on his shoulder. Don't know who he was, don't know where he went; may his path be blessed forever. He inoculated me from the deadly disease. Honest fight is a good thing. Malice is never an option.