I'm 48 years old, soon to be 49 (and not long after, the big five-oh). And so it is difficult for me to use a term such as 'boyfriend' to describe my significant other. Difficult only because I haven't been in high school in a very long time and this word boy-friend, is one I associate with juvenile crushes and desperate loneliness.
All that aside, my significant other, my partner, my boyfriend....moved into my house this past weekend. It was, needless to say, chaotic, as anyone who has uprooted and relocated their life can attest to. Picture this: bare walls, all cupboard contents stacked on counter tops, boxes piled against walls, furniture lined up near the door awaiting its turn to be taken to the moving van. Clothing folded neatly on the stripped bed in a room that is also stripped bare. The bathroom has never been so clutter-free, although a metal bed frame is folded in the centre of the floor.
As I walk down the freshly vacuumed stairs, the sun glints off my sweaty skin from the window in the stairwell. Something flashes, fluttering by the window. I stop and stare. There it is again. I come closer. A perfect, beautiful, white moth rests on the inside of the screen. She is frantic to get outside. Her wings puff lightly as if she is hyperventilating.
I place a hand behind her and guide her into the palm of my other hand where I gently trap her. The house is silent to me as I focus on this rescue. I cannot hear the TV on downstairs, the vacuum sucking up dirt in the living room or the water crashing around inside the dishwasher. I barely hear my partner ask what I've got there. My hearing is tuned to the tiny being in my hands calling out for help.
I come down the stairs without the aid of the hand railing as both hands are occupied. I step over the dog and push the front door open with an elbow. I open my hands and the small white wave crawls up over the base of my left thumb. I can almost see her blinking at the bright outdoors, gasping in the fresh air and wondering where she is in relation to the world.
For a moment she opens her wings flat against my hand and I can see faint light brown lines in a random design along their length. Up against birch bark, she would be invisible. I feel the lightness of an eyelash flutter over my skin as she takes to the air. Her chaotic flight path unfolds toward the stand of birch trees near the side of the house.
I take in a deep breath, filling my lungs with the humid air and turn back toward my own chaotic home.