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The Return

It must have rained during the night. The roadsides are wet, the asphalt dark with puddles. And the sky this morning is a high blanket of cloud. A finch, darkly silhouetted against the light until you look and can see its proud, white breast beam, glides above the ramshackle rooftops. The bamboo tree in the garden looks green and fresh and the yellow shoots appear vibrant after the rain. Despite the cloud and the rain it’s still hot and the heat is oppressive. It presses down on my chest and sweat runs down my face, my back and my shirt are soaked. Pale green butterflies, invigorated too by the rain, skip in and out of the tree leaves chasing one another, so cool and serene in the heat like something sinister, like intelligent scraps of paper, and since I saw them before the accident, I suspect they be harbingers of disaster. That afternoon out in the country they gathered in the dirt beside the stream, and when we came near they scattered, flying around us like a flurry of snow.

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