8/21/15 Aporia Astrum (excerpt)

Mai nudged his foot under the table and smiled. This was one of her good moments. He thought it was one of her good moments, at least. He couldn’t tell if her eyes were seeing him or if she was seeing someone else. Someone she used to know.

“Hello there, dear,” he said smiling back. He picked up the dishes and took them to the sink and set them to soak. “Was it good?” he asked.

“I don’t like peanut butter much,” she said.

He had been wrong. This wasn’t a good moment. There were fewer and fewer these days. The doctors said there wasn’t anything to be done for her.

“Darling,” Gordy said. “We didn’t have peanut butter for dinner.”

“Nope. I have never liked peanut butter,” Mai said.

“How are the cocoons doing?” he asked.

Whenever she went off like this he tried to bring her back to something she knew. Something she loved. Loved more than him.

She put her hands on the hardwood table and used the back of her legs to push the chair back from the table as she rose to her feet. Her slippers made a shushing sound on the carpet.

Leaving the dishes until later Gordy half walked, half shadowed his wife down the hall.

“Hatching, or shedding, hatching or shedding,” said Mai. “My Monarchs should be done by now–it’s much like putting cookies in the oven.”

But it took much longer, thought Gordy.

He slid in front of her and opened the door to the garage and then put out his hand so she could hold on as she took the step slowly. Against the wall–he’d made the whole thing for her–was a wooden box, the top slanted at an angle, the front of which was set with a piece of glass. Inside were the colorful cocoons of butterflies pinned to the ceiling. Some brown, some green, some a metallic golden accented with midnight. And there were the butterflies that had just burst from their confines. Amazing to think those had been squirmy little buggers–caterpillars. He shuttered. Still, Gordy didn’t think they were much improved with wings, no matter the color.

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