The salty soil, they say, is at fault here for the tiny trees that are one hundred years old but never grow larger than saplings. The salty air makes wood rot and paint peel, and faces age before their time. The humidity in summer has a sting of salt, a taste around the mouth of tears, or sweat.
After we returned from our journey, Ender and I took a walk in this salty air. The humidity and the silence gave a sense of being inside an enormous hallway. My neighbours, forced out to the step, glistening with sweat and trying to keep cool, take furtive sips from a flask passed lightly from fingertip to fingertip. All floats in this heavy air. Strains of ukelele make their way down the street, saying "Sleep-sleep-sleep." Ender's head bobs and falls, taken over by the salt-magic, the pull of the ocean, of home. His tiny hands relax upon his lap, open, offering.
I pick him up from his stroller, his head falls heavily against me and I steady myself on the wooden shingles of our home. The new paint has begun to peel, as though the joy from this house had caused the shingles to burst and ripple. I walk as smoothly as I can up the stairs, each step a tiny creak, "Sleep-sleep-sleep." Upstairs, my husband is napping, and I place our son in his bed alongside ours. Salt facilitates electric conduction. Between the two of them, there is an unconcious connection. They each roll to face one another, faces slack and arms outstretched.
I make my way downstairs, slow steps that feel like gliding. Each movement saying, "sleep-sleep-sleep".