Fired by the Peanut Gallery

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I sit in the garden, sweaty from a late morning walk, feet up on the chaise, ice pack on the bum knee. The hummingbirds come to the bright red feeder and buzz around and flit, then finally push their needle beaks through the yellow holes and sip. They wouldn’t drink any of our inferior red feeder liquid a few months ago when the flowers were thicker around. Now they arrive in twos, showing off red throats and adding the flitter of their wings to that of the fake butterfly hanging from the patio cover and the real butterflies over by the orange tree.

And I admit that I’m sad about the boy. He’s moving across town to go to college. Four miles away, but it seems like light years. He won’t be here in the morning making coffee or the afternoon baking a pizza. He won’t come in and pet the dogs just because. He won’t help water the garden two days late or slam his door when we ask him for help with laundry. His resistance to all things helpful will no longer have to be surmounted to get a thing done here. His shy smile will not be the rare thing sometimes earned. But maybe like the hummingbirds, he’ll realize after a while that our red feeder liquid, while not the most intoxicating, is not that bad, and he’ll come home and be recalcitrant again. Just for us.

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