Emerald grass. Check. Haze-free sky. Check. Lustrous winged creatures. Check. Piper, legs crossed on a bespoke quilt, inhaled summer-scented wind while her daughter romped noisily. This. This setting was what Piper and Garrett had paid $73,500 over asking for. Worth every penny plus Garrett’s two-hour commute.
It took Piper a moment to realize that Kylie was no longer shrieking “butterfly come back, come back.” Instead she was saying “look Mommy look there’s a body a body a body,” while gesturing wildly towards the pond behind Piper. Piper turned and looked. There was indeed a body, bloated, mottled, and sightless, wrinkling the water.
Piper closed her eyes and counted to ten, employing a strategy that had previously met with success. When she opened her eyes, the body was no longer visible. “There’s no body, you silly goose.” She ruffled Kylie’s hair. “Your eyes were playing tricks on you. We’re going to go to the doctor and have her check your eyes!” Kylie gave her a quizzical look. “No tricks Mommy! There’s a body in the water!” She pulled Piper’s eyelids up and stared at her pupils. “Maybe you’re not looking right,” Kylie theorized.
Piper gently removed Kylie’s fingers and made a show of looking in every direction. “Nope, no body. Ooooh, I see a butterfly—go see if you can make friends with it.” A bemused Kylie faced the pond again. Piper held her breath. Kylie briefly shut her eyes. Upon reopening them, she gifted Piper a serene expression and an authoritative “no body Mommy,” before racing off to chase a hapless monarch.
The discovery that her daughter had an aptitude for unseeing flooded Piper with joy. Unseeing was an impressive skill that would serve Kylie well in so many environments. Moreover, Kylie’s reassessment meant that she wouldn’t say anything to her father about her initial observation. Garrett was squeamish about dead people. He would insist that they move if there was even a small chance that a corpse loitered somewhere on their four-acre property. Piper had just redone the kitchen (farmhouse style) to her satisfaction, and besides, interest rates had skyrocketed since the closing six months ago. Sighing contentedly, she bit into a gluten-free cracker retrieved from the picnic basket at her side, and gazed at the blipless pond.
About Colette Parris
Colette Parris is a Caribbean-American attorney who returned to her literary roots during the pandemic. Her poetry and prose can be found in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Offing, Scoundrel Time, LEON Literary Review, Cleaver, MoonPark Review, and elsewhere. Three of her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in New York.