The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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May 25, 2013

A 17-year romance with no tomorrow

(Continued)

But those dreams had faded like so many scattered rose petals. After a brief flurry of activity, Lois and Walter had settled into a predictable routine, the same thing day after day: nestle in the dirt, suck on an occasional root, exchange small talk with the neighbors. The world that had once seemed so big had shrunk into something very tiny and suburban.

Children might have made things better — they both wanted them desperately — but fortune had not seen fit to bless them in that way.

Lois couldn’t help thinking they had been given a second chance, a chance to change all that: the big party, the culmination of so much waiting. And it started today!

Walter shuffled in. Lois eyed him with a smile, then brushed some dirt off his metathorax and straightened his mesothorax.

“I don’t know why you’re bothering,” Walter said, not unkindly. “I’m just going to be shedding this anyway.”

“Well, darling, I happen to think you clean up quite nicely. And it’s important to make a good first impression. How are your tymbals?”

“Sore,” Walter said, gingerly flexing the two sound-producing organs on either side of his abdomen.

“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” Lois said, taking another look at her face, then snapping her compact shut. “Well, shall we?”

“Lois,” Walter said in a strained voice, “there’s something we should talk about first.”

“Really? What?”

“Lois, when we get . . . up there, things will be different. It won’t be like it is down here: cozy, predictable. It will be a bit of a madhouse, frankly. All the chirping, the flying. There will be . . . temptations.”

“’Temptations,’ Walter?”

“Pressure to . . . you know. ‘The birds and the bees’ and all that.”

“Walter, dear, don’t be silly,” Lois said with a laugh. “I only have compound eyes for you.”

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