Abigail bunches her hands in her sweatshirt and feels the bird in one of the pockets. The creature has been in there for days. Abigail lifts the body out, takes it in her palm, and places it at the root of the lily next to the aviary. She had every intention of burying it there and holding a funeral until it started raining. She looked up and felt one drop splash below her eye, then another on her nose. Seconds later, the downpour consumed the little town. The grey clouded the sun; thunder clapped rather close. One one thousand. Two one thousand. Lightning bolt. Rather than running inside, Abigail walked to the stream behind the house. She had seen a heron rest there a few days ago, most likely on his way to the river to fish. Abigail kissed the little songbird in her hand and threw the body over to the rock where she had last seen the heron, thinking that the best place for such a small bird was under the care of a larger feathered accomplice. Perhaps he would reincarnate as something stronger, something which would be impenetrable to holes drilled right through a small abdomen.
Walking back into the house she sees her uncle and waves, running up to warm up in a hot shower.
Goodness, Rafe ponders, how this girl resembles his sister, Vivienne. Abigail has a habit of sweeping her bangs to the same side as her mother did. Look at that face. Slender yet without angles. Abigail is all love and skepticism. She even holds it in her gaze, her chin, up and confident. He can’t stand it. Such a rich soul. Vivienne was responsible for that. “Cecilia, how will this work?” he asks his wife, married so long now he knows she is awake by her breathing patterns. Both lying on their backs, both staring up at the ceiling, both having the same worrisome thoughts.”She’s lost everyone. Never knew her father now Vivienne. How does one handle that?”
“She’ll be fine. I think she needs to be alone for a bit. Besides, we aren’t leaving until August. And there’s Jack”
“Jack?” Rafe asks, raising his confused little eyebrows.
Cecelia laughs at her husband’s complete lack of observation over the past 12 years. “Haven’t you noticed those two? They have been attached for quite some time. Neither one may realize it yet, but it’s love. True and pure. She’s here to get him. But she doesn’t know that yet. And I’m not sure if he does or not. No matter. Love finds its place and settles right down in. In the meantime, we will go orchid hunting and look forward to the stories upon our return.”
Such brilliance. His wife’s calmness made him fall in love just a little bit in that tiny moment. She could make a plan and relinquish control all in the same movement. No wonder, he thought, and then he said it aloud.
Cecilia looks over and stares at her husband, her eyes fully accustomed now to the dark.
“No wonder, yourself,” she says and rubs the back of her hand along his cheek.