The Boss likes to ogle the lobster tank every time we pass the seafood section of the supermarket. I am nothing if not accommodating. I halt the sticky, bent wheels of a cart that is, without fail, totally gimpy, and we stare into the moving mountains of crustaceans.
"Silly lobsters!" The Boss likes to say as one or two scamper over each other while the rest just lay there.
"Hmmmm..." I like to say as I spot the dead one.
I look around for the fish guy. I find him behind the counter in his gutsy white coat. We have his attention. Perhaps, in a wave of delusion, the thought crossed his mind that we were there to buy something. I set him straight, innocently.
"If the lobster is upside down, does that mean it's dead?" I inquire.
"Usually," he says.
As he opens the tank from the back to hasten the journey of the most recently departed, I watch The Boss's eyes. They take in everything. I'm not so sure about how much they process. It's a confounding unknown. I begin to wonder why I even pointed out that the little guy was D-E-A-D.
We continue to gaze upon the tank's remaining inhabitants in all their hard shelled lethargy. My forehead is creased. The Boss's is smooth and unlined. I am a relatively new mom, but I already know that every moment is a teaching moment. What I don't know is how to conceptualize, for a two year old, a single upside-down lobster amidst the cramped phalanx of its prone brethren.
I doubt there's much of an explanation I can give her, so I just shrug. We set off again. The wheels on the cart bump round and round.
"Goodbye, lobsters," The Boss waves.
My shrug heaves into a sigh of relief. I wave along with her. She knows what she needs to know, for now.