#108 Nectar

by Nancy Gadzuk

Lureen stirred the pitcher of sugar water and smiled. Her hummingbirds loved this sweet nectar! And the bees—some days she believed they swarmed under the trees, just waiting for her to come outside.

“Lureen! Hurry up with my lunch!” It was the first her husband had spoken to her all day.

Willard would just have to wait. Her winged friends came first.

She carried the pitcher out to the porch and carefully filled the hummingbird feeders. Then she poured nectar into open saucers for the bees.

The air crackled with anticipation. She sensed a sphere of movement, of tiny wings, circling under the peach trees.

“Dammit! I want my lunch!”

Lureen hurried back to the kitchen. She’d made Willard a meatloaf sandwich slathered with red currant jelly. She poured a tall glass of sweet tea.

“I’ll take it outside so you can eat on the porch. There’s peach pie, too. Still warm.”

Willard shuffled toward the door. “’Bout time it’s ready.”

She looked at him: his gray stubble, his hard eyes.

“Oh, it’s ready,” she said.

She set his tray down and admired the purple yarrow and coreopsis that bordered the porch.

Willard grabbed the sandwich. Lureen watched for a few minutes. Then, satisfied, she went into the kitchen to wash dishes.

She never heard a thing over the sound of the running water, she would say later. Not a cry, not the thud of his chair falling over.

Not the buzz of a thousand swarming bees.

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