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THIRTY-TWO
The water, after the initial shock of cold, proved warm enough for a three-year-old to play in for extended lengths of time so long as his parents kept an eye on him for signs of hypothermia. Whenever Bryan’s lip began to quiver Mary or Zach would pluck him from the ocean, lift him high overhead and ask, “Throw you in with Dori or go make sand castles?”

Bryan would always respond, “Throw in with Dori!” which they would do while feigning cold and then bring him to the water’s edge where they would build sandcastles and chase brown pelicans until he was again warm.

“Okay, shark bait hoo-ha-ha,” Zach said as he tossed Bryan into a gentle swell that rolled over them, “in you go but then I need to warm up under the sun.”

“And we should all replenish our sunscreen,” Mary said looking at her boys from the tops of her eyes.

“Yes, Mommy,” Zach responded sarcastically, grabbing Bryan from the surf and gently seating him on his shoulders, “more sunscreen, coming right up.”

On the beach they made their way toward two wooden beach chairs, separated by a low table that made a pleasant home for a two meter wide sun canopy of alternating blue and white panels that protected the Brown’s from the strong, midday, tropical sun. Atop Zach’s shoulders Bryan towered above the ground and as they arrived at their rented haven Zach lifted his son over his head, flipped him right-side-up and placed him gently on the sand, declaring, “I’m hungry,” as he checked his watch, adding, “which is rather convenient seeing how as it’s local lunchtime.”

“I think three hours of surf and sand have earned us some surf and turf or whatever passes for a plentiful lunch in these parts,” Mary replied, turning her bottle of sunscreen bottom up and shaking it. “Turn around, love,” she added to Bryan as she squeezed lotion into her hand and then slathered it on her son’s back as he spun in compliance to her request. “Your turn, big kahuna,” she said to Zach.

“Tuna sounds nice but I’d much rather a tasty slice of mahi-mahi, either as a sandwich or in a salad. What say you girl? Slather up then put on our feedbags?”

“I’m ready and maybe if we get really lucky someone will fall a-s-l-e-e-p.”

“Whoa! Slow down there, sheila, don’t s-p-e-l-l so fast! And I’m more than ready for an n-a-p.”

“Yes, dear, I wasn’t referring to you, though I guess you have been up longer than we have.”

“Right. Plus it is much more difficult for someone my height to sleep on an airplane than it is someone your size.”

“Oh, poor, baby. Must be tough to be what, eight centimeters taller than the average man? Try being 12 centimeters taller than the average woman.”

“While I’ll grant that your height can make finding clothes a bit difficult I don’t think sex has anything to do with how well we fit in airline seats, just height and width and my height tops your height. Plus, you should be more sympathetic after my scare.”

“You’re right. About the sympathy that is. That had to be terrible. Bryan, are you hungry?”

“I hungry,” he assured.

“Cool,” Mary said with a smile and a nod. “Grab shirts, shoes, wallets, bag or whatever. Let’s blow this popsicle joint and find some food!”

“And maybe some popsicles when we’re done,” Zach said, pulling his shirt on.

“Or ice-cream,” Mary replied, slipping her beach wrap over her head as she raised and lowered her eyebrows three times quickly.

“Me want ice-cream!” Bryan declared.

“Right, tama, but after lunch.”

“Okay, Pabbi,” Bryan sighed.