I sat in the windowsill bathed in the
metallic hum of insects. The night was alive and clung to everything
like a sticky film. The air was sweet with mimosa or perhaps some
unseen trophy of the dogs lay rotting in the hedge. It was hard
to tell, the heat seemed to magnify everything. My father sat on the
porch below smoking a cigarette and whistling into his beer bottle,
like a ship lost at sea. With each puff of his cigarette I could hear
a tiny hiss and see the dim outline of his face. He seemed so far
away, yet I was sure I could have spit on him from where I was perched.
My mother was rustling about in the
hall, as she did every Friday night before she went out. She started
down the stairs, without the familiar jingle of her keys in hand,
or the usual snap of her purse swallowing them into its worn leather
belly. She paused briefly at the bottom of the stairs and then proceeded
to the front door.
The porch light flashed on and the screen
door flung open. Fat white moths began hurling themselves into the
glaring bulb with audible persistence. They both looked so faded in
that harsh dome of light, my father seated in the adirondack and my
mother standing near the railing.
"Im going now", she
said as she slipped on her gloves, white kidskin, shed had them
since before I was born. She straightened her hat, the flowers hung
loosely at the brim as if wilted, but artificial flowers dont
wilt they disintegrate. She stood looking at him for what seemed an
My father sat motionless in his chair
staring out into the dark. They remained like silent adversaries in
a chess match until she walked off the porch, and out of the light.
She seemed to melt into the night. I watched, as she became a tiny
blur, like a glimpse of white marble on a moonlit night. Then she
disappeared behind a curtain of willow branches. I could still hear
the tiny click of her heels on the path.
With a loud sigh my father got up from
his chair and to the disappointment of the moths, he turned off the
porch light. Now they would be once again lost in the dark. I went
to sleep that night with my fathers lonely barge call echoing
in my head.