Beach kid, tiny little hoodie, gooey face, waiting for the movie to start: “Did you see this?”
He holds out a broken seashell.
Me, admiring it: “That’s…shiny.”
Him, earnest: “No, no, no, no, I mean yeah.” He stares with deep concern, first at the shell, then at the movie screen, then at me again. “It’s wet. So it’s shining cuz of the movie screen.”
His brother, grabbing it. “This is like, oh my god, it’s so pretty.” Handing it back, they hold it together, up to my face, wait for an adult to finally see something. I know now that their language is their vision and I can no longer speak it. They know this, too, but in their sadness and kindness and hope and frustration, keep trying to help another big dummy see what’s beyond her grasp.
“Once I found a lizard,” I tell them, “with half a tail. She didn’t run away because she was cold. She had cool eyes and markings, just like other lizards, and her tail maybe grew back. But half a tail meant she was in some kinda danger once. She fought a lizard war.”
Enormous eyes. “Like a Batman lizard.”
I nod. “Like a Batman lizard. She was broken differently from all other lizards.”
A longish pause. It gets awkward. The little brother runs toward the ocean and falls down on purpose, to break the tension. The boy who found the shell eases, breathes and jerks his head toward projector noise. He drops his shell in the sand to wipe the goo off his lips as the movie begins.