I Saw Hearts But You Saw Skulls
by Simon Kewin
‘The sky is full of hearts, Jen! Come see.’
I’ve come out for the newspaper, groggy with sleep, and there they are, filling the bright morning air. Not aorta and blood hearts, but stylised hearts, symbolic hearts, flitting around like butterflies. Beautiful.
‘What the hell you shouting about now, Dan?’ says Jen from somewhere inside.
I step into the street, one hand holding my robe closed. People stand around, looking upwards, amazed. Cars too, drivers’ heads peering out of lowered windows.
‘Hey, Dan, you see them?’ Mrs. Green from next door. ‘The angels? Is it the end of the world, Dan? You think that’s it?’
‘They’re not angels, ma,’ says Grace, her daughter. ‘They’re fairies. You can see their wings.’
I walk up to Bud. He’s reaching up into the air, trying to grab them. They flit out of the way each time.
‘Eyes,’ he says. ‘Like, demonic eyes. Red. What are they doing there?’
I suddenly have to know what Jen sees. Mrs. Green’s head is full of the gospel while Grace spends her days playing fairies. Bud sure has his demons. And I see hearts, because of Jen. Despite everything.
I find her out in the yard, the same open-mouthed expression as she stares upwards. I put my arm around her.
‘You see them?’
She shrugs herself free. Like she does these days. Since him.
‘What, Jen? The hearts?’
‘Hearts? No, they’re skulls aren’t they? Like, death’s-heads. Dan, the sky. It’s full of skulls.’