Butterfly's Shadow by Lee Langley

By Lee Langley

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And rhyme. At school they read Longfellow, learned verses by heart. You didn’t need to hang around waiting for the silence to tell you what in hell Longfellow was driving at. The girl was still looking up at the moon, he could see its light reflected in her eyes. Then she folded her hands and made a small bow, towards the sky, like a greeting. She turned her head slightly; now she seemed again to be waiting for something. He took a chance and inclined himself in a sort of bow in the general direction of the moon.

Then she cried out. The futon was as uncomfortable as he had feared and there were one or two misunderstandings and a few tears, but she took instruction well. ’ ‘Oh, sure. ’ He was surprised. ’ She shook her head, serious. ’ He laughed. That was cute and it was also true. She had much to learn, but she was learning fast. Later, while Pinkerton slept, snoring gently, she explored her body, the silky folds he had pushed his way into so forcefully, still raw, so sore that even the touch of her tentative fingers caused her to cry out, softly.

The waiting was getting him down. The silence was getting him down, the famous Japanese silences that, Sharpless told him, ‘spoke between the words’. The consul had recited an old Japanese poem to him when they first met; something about a pond and a frog that jumps in. ’ The line, Pinkerton had commented, rang no poetical bells for him. ‘Ah,’ Sharpless said. ” But for the Japanese there needs to be an awareness of the silence between the jump and the splash. They would wait to learn the sound from the silence.

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