M and J decide to make mango pudding for our tea time, want to do it on their own without a recipe. They stir sugar and flour, puree mango pieces, pick small mint leaves. They pinch chocolate shavings from the bottom of the chocolate chip bag and argue over whose turn it is to stir. We eat the cool sweet pudding out of small bowls on the back porch, the girls eyeing us with pride.
I watch a bee eater snap a bright blue butterfly in its beak, carry it back to a branch of the potato tree. The butterfly is big, too big for the small beak. The bird works with determination, trying to somehow shove those fluttering wings into its own body. I am struck most by the colours, the metallic green of the bird’s feathers, the shimmering blue of the butterfly wings, am amazed to watch the one colour disappear, become a part of the other. Now, incredibly, the bird holds the fragile blue of the butterfly in its own green body. I notice I’m not sad at the butterfly’s death, more amazed at the fusion of life.
Phil calls us to the backyard. It’s raining. We all stand on the brown grass, look up at the clouds, darker than we’ve seen in months. The rain falls in small individual drops, not enough to make us wet, stops before it really begins. We set a purple bucket in the yard, an overly optimistic gesture. The bucket remains dry. We keep waiting.
I sit on the Lamu couch and fold gold embossed origami paper into lopsided peace cranes, trying to conjure hope with each careful crease.
P has propped a small note up on the coffee table “I lov you, famale. You mak me smuyl.” Under the note is a brown envelope full of carefully folded drawings. She pulls them out one at a time, hands them to each of us, pictures of flowers and sunshines and trees in bright marker colours.