July 15, 2005

They gather around me after the show, shyly leaning against my knee, looking up in wonder. There are two of them, cut from the same cloth, brown hair falling over big brown eyes, stocky little three-year-old boys. I sit on the ground to address them at their level, but they imitate me and sit on the carpet, trying to fold their toddler legs crisscross-applesauce. "Maybe you was a frog today?" asks Maydee.

"You was a lizawd?"

"The owi-gator had a tail THIS big! He was THIS big!"

Once the boys have started talking nothing can stop them. They stand up, put their hands on my shoulders, and speak at the same time, punctuating their ideas by shouting words and squinting their eyes.

"The frogs jumped like THIS. See? They jump HIGH!"

"WATCH. Watch. I can do it. Ow."

"Maybe you was a frog?"

"Yes, I was a frog," I tell them. "Look, here's my mask."

"It's HEAVY!" Eban yells.

"No, it's not heavy. See?"

"It's not heavy."

"The owi-gator had a tail like THIS!"

"It's not heavy."

"Did you see his TAIL?!"

"I can run FAST. See?"

Eban takes off down the hallway, giggling. His dad, twenty-four, black-framed glasses, plaid wool jacket, calls him back. "Hey, buddy."

Maydee pushes the hair out of his eyes. "Maybe you was a frog?"

"Yes," I say again. "I was in a costume."

Eban is back. "Like Halloween," he says. "Costume. But it's not scary."

"That's right," I say, hearing Eban repeat things I said to him the day before.

"We're in costumes. Did you see the alligator's eyes?"

"YEAH!"

"What color were they?"

"GREEN!"

"Close. They were red."

"Yeah, and they were GLOWING!"

Eban does a somersault.

"Were you scared?"

"No."

Eban rubs the top of his head, his belly poking out from under his striped shirt. "The lizawd was THIS BIG!"

"Kerry?" Maydee asks, resting his hand on my knee. "Maybe you was a frog today?"


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