Sandcastles In The Air

Allison Hay © A picture of a sandcastle to go with our romantic short story Sandcastles In The Air


Time by the sea brings back memories of a summer holiday, teenage love and youthful dreams…

Heather sat on the sea wall gazing out across the infinite blue. Could wishes come true? Or were they as ephemeral as sandcastles that were built, then washed away by the tide?

She breathed deep, relishing the salty tang in the air, before pulling her hoodie tighter against the stiff, cool breeze. Odd for August. But, then again, there didn’t seem to be set seasons any more.

Years ago, you knew summer had arrived as soon as the leaves turned dark green and the sun burst through the clouds, full and yellow, and proud.

The laughter of children would be as sweet as the ice-cream.

And chocolate flakes topping the wafer cones were as mandatory as racing down to the sea and bracing yourself against the shock of the cold water as it sloshed over lily white feet, before they tanned in the golden warmth.

But the best summer of all, and the one she’d always remember, was the one where she’d met Scott who’d been on holiday with his friend, Paul.

He’d been lost in thought gazing at the waves, and he’d plonked himself next to her on the sand. “Hi. You here on holiday, too?”

Her heart had skipped a beat as she’d turned to look at him. “No. I live here.”

“Cool. Wish I did. We’re down from Scotland. Not that you can tell, huh.”

She’d laughed, immediately recognising the beautiful lilt in his voice. “How long you down for?”

“Two weeks. I’m Scott.”

“Scott from Scotland. Neat.”

“I know. No idea what my parents were thinking!”

“I’m Heather.”

He’d repeated her name softly, before grinning. “You can’t get much more Scottish than that. You’re lucky to live here by the sea. Wish I did.”

He’d turned his head to gaze wistfully across the small bay, before looking back at her, fun dancing in his eyes. “Wanna hang out?”

After that they’d become inseparable, spending two weeks sunbathing on the beach after frolicking in the ocean, or playing crazy golf with her friends.

They’d gone on long walks enjoying the beautiful scenery. And she’d shown him other inlets or coves where they’d beachcombed, or just sat and talked.

She’d taken him up to see Pendennis castle on the headland, which was really a fortress built by Henry VIII to defend the country against invasion.

They’d explored and played hide and seek, and she could still recall that when Scott found her, he’d tip her chin upwards, before kissing her gently on the lips, sending a thrill coursing through her body.

There had been one tense moment when Paul got a little jealous of Scott spending so much time with her, leaving him at a loose end.

But, luckily, she’d introduced him to her friend, Jade, and the two of them had hit it off.

Heather had known Scott would be returning home, but couldn’t prevent her 17-year-old heart falling deeply in love.

And what had been even better, Scott had felt the same telling her he’d never forget her.

The day before he’d left, they’d spent the night on the beach, and it had been the best night of her life. Tearfully she’d waved him off the next day. Yes. She had his address, and yes, he’d promised to stay in touch. But would he?

Making herself more comfortable on the sea wall, Heather tucked one leg beneath her, letting the other dangle towards the golden sands, her flipflop hanging onto her toes with all its might. Glancing up at the sky, she saw seagulls cawing overhead, dipping with neat precision towards the lace-topped waves.

A voice calling her name made her look round. “How did it go?”

His eyes sparkled and he grinned. “We got it!”

She jumped down off the wall and kissed him. “Perfect!”

“Hey, people are watching!”

“Am I not allowed to kiss my husband in public?” She gave him a teasing look before taking his hand. “Can we go see it?”

He nodded, linking his fingers through hers.

Together they walked along the promenade towards their new house. All those years prior, when she’d shown Scott round her home town, they’d often admired a beautiful old property set back slightly from the others, but still with the most amazing view of the bay.

“One day we’ll live there, you and me,” he’d said.

“As long as I’m with you, I don’t mind where we live,” she’d replied.

And she hadn’t. She’d followed Scott to be with him in Scotland where they’d married. Now, 10 years later, they’d achieved their dream of returning to live where they’d first met.

Some wishes could not be washed away by the tide like sandcastles. Not the ones that you worked for and followed through on. Because if they’re meant to be, they come true.

Read more romantic short stories:

Read A Romantic Break, See You In My Dreams, Back In The Day, plus many more in our archives.