Q: How does a mineral reflect light?

Luster: luster, even more so than color, is the best aspect of a mineral to identify first. It describes whether light bounces off the surface more like shined shoes or dirt or a brand new house key.


Non-metallic: reddish-brown

Carbon-dated at five and a half years old and

with a speech impediment, I spent weekday

evenings learning how to speak. How to form

words out of the sounds that didn’t quite fit in

my mouth. My parents saw my frustration with

my lack of communication.

They hired a speech therapist, who would come

to my house. She would watch me

eat bananas and make faces with me in the

mirror. She’d sit, red nails taking notes, in a

folding chair as I colored at a wooden table

made for kids. Every time I talked it was a

tongue twister.

Metallic: dark silver

The English classrooms in my high school were

situated in a different building (House 1) than the

science classrooms (House 2). With six minutes

between classes, I would rush with my two best

friends, Xinhui and Zoe, across the school as quickly

as we could to move from Biology to English.

Inevitably, we would hit the traffic of the student body

when we passed through the wide auditorium atrium

and into the narrow hallways that always smelled

faintly of corn chips.

My friends didn’t love English. Of course, they were

scientists. They tossed the subject off to me, since I

was one of the few in the class that read the books in

full and didn’t mind the essays.



Previous | Next