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Made of Glass

“They’re saying this is the most rain we’ve gotten since the 1940’s, isn’t it crazy Cal?”
   Silence
   “Cal?”
   Stray wisps of dark hair brushed her face, dark blue-gray eyes were far-away, gazing out the window. The sun was coming through the wrung-out clouds and steam rose from the moist ground. The air smelled of pine and loam and salt now, salt from the storm off the coast.
   “Calypso?” a hazel-eyed man reached out and put his dark hand over the small, light one. “Hey Calypso, what’re you thinking about?”
   “Listen,”
   He c***ed his head and was still for a moment. “I don’t hear anything,”
   The woman’s head bobbed once.
   “You’re listening to the silence?”
   “The birds,”
   He c***ed his head for another listen, “What about the birds?”
   “One’s missing,”
   He grinned wryly, “Dozens – maybe hundreds of birds sing every morning Callie, you can’t tell if one is missing.”
   “Yes I can,”
   The grin slackened and he watched her with careful concern. “No you can’t,”
   “It’s the one who nests outside my window. He’s not out this morning,”
   The concerned expression turned into a frown, “Eat your cereal Callie,”
   The head gently dipped and a spoonful of cold Cheerios were navigated into a small, pink mouth.
   The smile came back, “I have to go out to the office to help Bob today. Will you be okay home alone?”
   “Sure, I have Lightning,”
   A black collie raised his head, watched the humans for a moment, then lay back down.
   The man grinned at the dog. “I’ll be back around three, will you be okay until then?”
   A smile with a dimple in the left cheek, “Stop worrying,”
   “Okay, I’ll see you later,” he leaned forward across the table and quickly dropped a light kiss on her nose, “Love ya Cal,”
   “I love you Mark,”
   Keys jangling and shoes heavy against the smooth hardwood of the secluded house, Mark made for the door and opened it.
   “Mark?”
   Mark paused and turned back to Calypso, “Yeah Cal?”
   “I love you,”
   Mark opened his mouth, hesitated, and nodded, “Love you too Cal,”. He stepped out, the door closed, a car engine started, died, started again and then could be heard fading as the vehicle drove away.
   Calypso finished the cereal, put the bowl in the sink, and climbed the stairs to the upper level. Taking the second left in the hall she entered a bedroom with a made bed, slightly cluttered desk and window. She went for the window, raised the sash, and looked out. Around her, safely hidden in the trees choirs of birds sang their praises to the morning. The serious blue-gray eyes shifted around, scanning the trees and finally rested on a pine tree just beyond the window. “He’s not out this morning,” she repeated. A tangle of twigs and grasses could be seen amidst the needled branches, small, speckled eggs safely tucked inside, but there were no birds.
   Calypso went back downstairs and gathered a leash. “C’mere Lightning,”
   The border collie allowed the leash to be clipped to his collar and he obediently followed her outside. Calypso lead him to the pine tree outside the window and they walked past it down a gentle slope. Calypso stopped, crouched and gently gathered the remains of a dead songbird, the limp body cold and lifeless.
   She turned to Lightning and showed him the bird. “He died very young for a songbird. They’re fragile ya know, they can break like glass and then they’re gone and don’t sing anymore.” She sat back, settled the body in her lap and began petting Lightning. “We’re all pretty fragile I guess…”
   “Calypso?” Mark was running up the hill toward her,
   Calypso stood and cradled the bird gently, “His mate left the nest.”
   Mark looked down at her burden and nodded solemnly, “There are other birds Cal,”
   She looked down at the bird and up at the nest again. “No, there aren’t.”
   Mark reached out a gloved hand and took the bird from her, “I’ll take care of him, these things have all sorts of diseases…Cal, what happened?”
   A clear shard embedded in her palm gave way to a trickle of red as coursed down the curve of her hand and a dark cut seeped more of the rich, red dye.
   Mark seized her hand, “What did you do to yourself? Are you hurt?”
   The blue-gray eyes looked at the bird in Mark’s other hand, more clear shards falling from the motionless feathers onto the ground. She took her hand back. “I’ll be okay, it’s only glass.”






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