"Where have you been?" they asked.
"I don't know," he said in that tone that doesn't mean what it says but instead just fills space.
"What do you mean, you don't know? What have you been doing?"
"Nothing," he said filling the space again.
But it wasn't true. He had been doing many things.
There were the butterflies he sat and watched (yellow, orange, white and black) as they fluttered from flower to flower, butterflies that he had always longed for and finally came. There was the perfume of the Purple Trailing Lantana that made him close his eyes. There were the Wrens complaining from the branches and the Goldfinches singing from distant trees and from closer ones as they tried to get up the nerve to come down for a drink.
There were monarchs circling around him and hanging from orange and yellow blossoms. There was a Swallowtail caterpillar on the Milkweed. And there were Cowpen Daisy seedheads full of seeds for next year. And there was the Russian Sage that finally bloomed. And volunteer Bluebonnets that came from nowhere. And there was the squirrel that would come down for a drink barely a shoe's flick away from where he sat.
There were football games with marching bands and a haunted house at Halloween. There were warm days and mercifully cool nights under bright stars and a crescent moon. There were greens growing in the garden and a small pond glistening in the sun.
There was Scott Simon inviting an auditorium full of people to sing Happy Birthday to his two-year old daughter as tears streamed down his cheeks. There were long lines of people voting early. And there was that Tuesday night when everyone was able to go to bed well before midnight, because the monsters got chased out of town by a different kind of mob with different kinds of torches and pitchforks.
It wasn't true. He hadn't been doing nothing. He just hadn't felt like talking much.
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