He looks like he has been working down in the mines, except instead of the black of coal he is covered with brown sand. It sticks to his arms. It streaks down both of his legs. There is sand on his face. The tip of his nose. It clings to him and the thick white sunscreen I rubbed on him as soon as we arrived at the park.
A fine dusting of sand hides among his white blond hair. It covers his clothes. And mine too.
In the middle of the gym I stand talking to another mom. I kick the ball when the boy brings it my way. We talk about our kids having outgrown preschool and kindergarten starting soon. I tell her the girl used to cry when I would pick her up from preschool for the first two months she was there. And then I heard that same cry.
I turned toward her as she ran at me from across the room. Sobbing, she walked into my arms as I knelt down in front of her. Her face was streaked with tears. Snot poured from her nose. She was too upset to speak.
What's wrong? I asked her. We made crowns today her Japanese teacher said to me. They weren't dry but she wanted to take them home. Tomorrow she told the girl. That answer didn't stop the crying.
I herded both kids outside as quickly as I could. I tried stopping to talk to the girl but she was inconsolable. Unless I was going to hand her the crown she didn't want to hear it.
Outside she screamed, releasing her pent up frustration. I told her that if she didn't stop we weren't coming back to Japanese class. And I almost kind of meant it.
In the stroller she had a snack and settled down. I dried the fresh tears and wiped her nose. She showed me her Japanese worksheets from this morning. I marveled at them. The crown was momentarily forgotten.