Shantih Journal 2.1 - Page 84

“I know, I know,” he said, not unkindly. “I remember. Listen, bud, you’re not the first one who’s come here looking for a lost somebody.” Adam hurried after him, and they entered an empty room at the end of the hallway. A large oval window on the wall. The light so fresh. His eyes hurt just with the opening of them. He said, “Please.” The man turned and waited. Adam rifled through his coat pocket. “Here,” he said, shoving something into the man’s hand. It was a photograph of Denny, that month before he’d left, his teeth newly-freed of braces and his hair long enough so that it covered his eyes. His mouth was shaped into a bored smirk only sixteen- year-olds know how to master. “Here’s what he looks like.” The man chewed on his lip, eyebrows raised. “Used to, anyway. Picture’s a few years old. Look at the time stamp. You don’t give up, do you?” Adam shook his head. Time was unimportant to him. He gestured to the man to keep looking at the photograph, to use his dirty fingers to trace over every inch of his son’s face, that one freckle on the bridge of his nose, his left ear a little lower than the right, his shoulders just beginning to broaden like a man’s. Look at him, he wanted to say. Look and tell me, do you know what’s become of him? The light hurt his eyes, made slicks of wet leak out of the corners of them. He tried to ask the man something, but he could only make a low noise in his throat, and Adam tucked the photo into his coat pocket, where it seemed to burn. The man said, “This guy stopped by here a few months ago, might’ve seen your boy.” Once they spent the summer down in Surf City and Hannah had gone to the water to dunk her hair and Adam had fallen asleep under the umbrella, leaving a four-year-old Denny playing in the sand. He woke with Hannah dripping salty down on him, her mouth forming the words, Where’s Denny? In those few seconds once the realization hit that his son was gone, the world held no sound for Adam. The barking of seagulls, the crack 84