HE DROPPED HIS BLACK LUNCHBOX onto the kitchen counter upon his arrival home. “I have something for you,” Randy said, flipping latches to unlock the box.
I anticipated a sweet. Randy occasionally grabs a birthday treat for me from work. Not that I need sweets—because who does—but I enjoy the occasional piece of left-over cheesecake, square of apple pie bars, slice of chocolate cake. When Randy brings me a sweet rather than simply tells me about it, I am particularly happy. Already I craved whatever he’d stashed away for me.
“Here, I brought you spring,” he said, reaching inside.
Puzzlement flushed my face. Lemon bars? Rhubarb pie? What did he have inside that lunchbox?
Then Randy handed me a dead Monarch butterfly. Brittle. Wings folded. A dead butterfly when I’d expected dessert?
I regrouped my thoughts, put my disappointment on hold and reconsidered. In the midst of a record-breaking cold snap and recent snowfall (which required joint snowfall removal efforts that very morning), Randy decided I needed a glimpse of spring. Or, more accurately, summer, the season butterflies emerge. How sweet is that?
But where did he find this Monarch in January in Minnesota? Randy works as an automotive machinist. He found the butterfly—along with acorns and leaves—inside a cylinder head dropped off by a customer. More often he finds a mouse nest or evidence of mice.
He may not have given me what I expected. But Randy gave me exactly what I needed on an especially cold evening in late January. He gifted me with hope. That spring always follows winter. And that, even after nearly 37 years of marriage, love still offers sweet surprises.
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling