Saturday, June 1, 2013

Vocabulary Test

The sun rose over a clear morning. Birdsong filled the yard.

“I think the hostas are coming up again,” she said from the kitchen.

“That’s nice,” he said. “Maybe winter’s finally over.” He sorted the mail at the breakfast table, over his morning coffee. “What’s with this bill? Did you call an exterminator?”

“I had to,” she said, carrying in the waffles and taking a seat across from him. “The words were going missing.”

He set the papers down. “What does that even mean?”

She gestured toward the butter; he passed it to her. “I didn’t understand it myself. I tried to Google it, but they’d eaten that one already, you see. I had to use Yahoo instead. They came up in the search results.”


“Not who. What. Term-mites.” She sliced her waffle into neat, bite-sized squares. She gestured toward the syrup.

“We have termites?”

“No, term-mites.”

“You’re not making any sense.”

“Look,” she said, sipping her juice. “You know when there’s a word for something and you can’t remember the word? It’s been eaten.”

He looked at her, blankly.

“Here, I’ll show you,” she said. “Eat your waffles.”

He shrugged, picking up his fork. “Could you…” he gestured toward the syrup.

“Could I what?”

“You know, pass the… hand me that?”

She smiled slyly, cocking an eyebrow at him.

He looked away. “I forgot what I was going to say,” he admitted.

“Because we have term-mites,” she declared.

Outside, the sounds of birdsong masked the gentle crunching of tiny jaws.

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