Being Quiet – Laurel Jones

Do you remember the day we were in the backyard, laying in the hammock together? You had just finished reading me a book and for some reason, it makes me think of apples. The sky was the clear blue color of water that day, and the heat sank into my skin. I remember the hammock seemed old even then, cream-colored and dirty, and I liked the way it left pale pink criss-crossing lines all over my arms and calves.

I was sleepy and had my head nuzzled into the crease of your underarm. You stroked my head and we stayed there together, quiet and still. I think that’s the reason it came. Because for once we were so quiet and still.

A butterfly.

It landed on your knee, all orange iridescence and soft, delicate feet. It was beautiful and had come just to the two of us, to join our small spot of holiness we had found in the backyard, under the big trees with silver bark and the single low wire that ran from the house to the barn.

I didn’t notice it at first, not until you spoke, saying,

“Laurel, look.”

It stayed for longer than it should have; maybe it thought we were flowers and it was trying to collect nectar from the pink birthmark that covers the underside of your leg. I just remember thinking it was beautiful and trying not to breathe.

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