He trips on the rock hard sand, his new shoes scraping against the pebbles. We laugh. The shutter of his camera fires. It's aimed at the sky. I point at the big dipper and tell him the story of the mother bear that became a constellation. I've told that same story to a million other people. But it doesn't sound the same this time. We don't talk for a while.
The waves sound the same as the ones across the lake in a different season. When the sand isn't so hard and my fingers have feeling. It's all the same, it all sounds the same. Leaning over a pebble, the steam of our lungs mixes and disappears.
Close to midnight on a January evening. In Chicago. At the beach. School today, school tomorrow. A lakefront breeze cuts me to pieces, and I know it's the same.