Say Your Prayers, George and Delilah

And so, driving down the parkway, George and Delilah talked to anyone but each other:

“I always think it’s crazy that we ended up with a blue sky,” said George.

“Eyes on the road, George,” said Delilah.

“And blue’s not even my favorite color, especially not this shade.”

“You don’t like my dress, George?”

“No! Yes! No, I do, because the blue complements the yellow, it’s a whole different thing. I just think, you know, when the plants are all September-dry and the sky gets more faded-airport blue, it just… I don’t know, an orange sky would be more fun, right? I don’t know.”

“You sound like you know, George.”

“Well, uh… I guess where I’m going with this is, like… the sky is blue because the atmosphere is, I don’t know, dense enough that it refracts the white sunlight and blocks everything down the rainbow up until blue—”

“No, no, everything with a higher wavelength than blue doesn’t bounce off all the molecules. It’s called Rayleigh scattering, George.”

“My name’s not Rayleigh, it’s—”

“I know, I know, Mr. Rayleigh was your father’s name, just call you George.”

“Well, uh… I guess where I’m going with this is, like… the sky’s only blue because of our exact atmosphere and its exact molecules, and it just has me thinking, I don’t know, we wouldn’t have evolved without all of those exact conditions, and if we did, we wouldn’t be the same George and Delilah, now would we? We’d have… lungs on our… brains, or. I don’t know.”

“Turn here, George.”

It went on like that; a trailing kite tail behind the car, winding up and down and around the asphalt anthill they call Humphrey Heights. Humphrey Heights, where sightings of spring chickens like George and Delilah were sparing at best. They call retirees who migrate south “snowbirds,” but there’s no ornithological designation for the more sessile types, like Delilah’s parents. Chickens, maybe, but certainly not the vernal variety. Their daughter may have flown the coop, but she wasn’t above a visit. Delilah owed her parents dinner; George owed Delilah a buffer. Say your prayers, George and Delilah.

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