Published in “Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine”
Selected for the Anthology “Whereabouts: Stepping Out of Place.”
His name was Sawyer. Dirty blond curls spilled down to his shoulders. He smiled easily with small, straight teeth lined up like itty bitty Legos.
“Can I play with you guys?”
My girls, stooped in earnest competition for the best sand castle, straightened up. They were double his age, double his size, and hesitant as they checked out his tiny bare chest and sinewy arms. Their lips pooched out a bit, but finally their manners ensued. “All right.”
“I’ll be right back. I’ve gotta get my bucket.”
The peace of Lake Tashmoo’s steady wind brushed our ears and rustled the shore grasses, sanderling and gulls called out from time to time, just to remind us we were near the sea. Past the inlet, the lake water spilled out through the Sound, toward the Atlantic. But here, at our feet, the surface barely rippled, tapping the beach only when a windjammer or troller pushed it ashore.
Sawyer exploded back to us, joyous, with his bright yellow bucket.
“Did you catch any crabs yet I found some over there by the rocks Do you have a shovel I can borrow I think I caught three crabs so far Hey I like your castle I caught them in my net but with the little ones you can just scoop them up in your hand…” Here, he took a breath and his little arm swung across his body, hand cupped, imaginary immature crab captured. We took a collective deep breath, as if we were the ones on verbal overdrive.
But then we began to listen. Continue reading