(I am not including the pictures on this blog--they're everywhere. I think you can find them if you want to see.)
Two pictures of kids on a beach—the dead Syrian Kurdish boy (I can’t look too close, I want to describe the clothes but don’t want to look again. Was his shirt red?) and a picture of my friend’s son on a beach in Shimoda, Japan.
My friend’s son is about three, maybe, and stands in the sand where the word chisai is written in hiragana. “Small.” He wears blue and yellow swim trunks and red shoes. He’s holding up something to the camera—shells? Rocks? The sand below the word “small” has a bright sheen from a Pacific wave freshly washed back. He has straight black hair.
So does the other boy. But his shirt is red—I made myself look at the picture again (stomach in knots, face numb now.) Little blue shoes, twisted. He looks like he might be sleeping but for something awkward about his body’s position in the waves, and the waves, the same shiny wet sand as in the other photo, Aegean waves washing back.
Yesterday while walking through Moda, I saw a boy between his parents. A toddler, staring down at his feet and watching them pick up the mechanics of walking. He looked up at me and grinned like, “See? Do you see?” I told him “Aferin!” and he squealed with laughter. “Look, I’m walking!” his laugh told all of us there on the street. He had straight black hair, too, the same chubby cheeks and squat body of the boys on the beach. The one on the Pacific and the one on the Aegean.