Noah and Max are here for lunch. And now they have their own table. Away from authority. They have the table that holds shells, stones and sand, seemingly underwater.
I saw them pause and look down into it, into the bits and pieces, roundies and pretties and apparently, snakes!
I asked, but where are the snakes?
Noah said, gone! They have quick eyes, the two year olds.
There’s a tiny glass bottle, bent in a curve. As though it turned to peer at something and was caught in the furnace of its own curiosity. It melted in a curve like a fried banana, the colour of burnt sugar, yellow lights still winking through it.
Max said, lollies! But there’s no lollies.
Just cool polished agates, malachite chunks like sugarless jubes, a slab of rock layered with such precision that the praline, sandstone and bitter caramel ribbons seem preserved, a slice of glass, a piece of something to be chosen and placed in a paper bag.
The boys, pausing, holding their bowls of food, run their infant eyes over all of these ideas and thought…. what?
What data from this trading table of family and geological history downloaded itself into their galloping infant minds? We won’t know. They have found that they can roar and spit cake at each other. An unalloyed joy.
The starfish, the pieces of amber and the green light of malachite sink to a deeper level. They’ll return to it.