The last time Greyson made his wife pancakes for dinner, he glimpsed a fly on the kitchen window and, without thinking, flipped his spatula at it, leaving a greasy square on the glass. 

At the kitchen island his wife didn’t look up. The pink glare of her fertility tracking app made her face seem flushed and she swiped up and down as if trying to rub something off the glass. Greyson thought all this tracking and calculating didn’t help and she should just relax, but this was her domain so he said nothing. 

He returned to the stove and flipped the pancake. His wife pushed back her stool hard enough that it screeched against the tile. 

“Where are you going? I’m making pancakes,” Greyson said. But his wife said she had no intention of eating his stupid pancakes even before he put fly guts on them. 

“You know flies grow from maggots, right?”

Greyson looked at his spatula, the sizzling pancake on the pan, and the greasy spot on the window. He wanted to say that he hadn’t actually hit the fly — the impulse had just come out of nowhere — but he didn’t want to provoke a hunt for a fly carcass to prove him wrong. 

His wife pounded up the stairs. The kitchen had turned grey and streams of smoke shrugged under the bucket lights. He turned off the burner and scooped the hot pancake off the griddle, holding it in front of him like a flashlight as he opened the back door to air out the house. In the cool twilight, a lightening bug blinked its yellow light. He walked with the pancake toward it, but the glow disappeared.  

From the middle of the yard, he could see shadow of his wife moving in the upstairs bedroom. He hadn’t slept in that room in five days, not since he posted a screenshot of his astronomy app indicating an unidentifiable spot in the sky with the caption, “They’re out there.” Since then, all their friends had called to tell him he was the best kind of crazy, but his wife didn’t share their sentiment. 

In the kitchen window the greasy square where he’d hit the glass squirmed like a small ghostly face. 

With his free hand he took his phone out of his back pocket and opened the astronomy app. He raised it to the darkening sky, but it was too early for the angles of Ursa Major, Orion, Pegasus to float across the screen. He loved scanning the sky. The shapes the stars made were beautiful, untouchable, otherworldly. Soothing and exciting all at the same time. Despite the occasional oddity, the sky behaved in far more predictable ways than the tiny cells swimming through body fluids. One tiny speck in search of a complimentary globule. The strange synergy of space colliding in a way that might contain life. How improbable it all was. How hopeful. 

Behind him he heard the rub of the window opening, his wife rattling the blinds to press her face against the screen. 

“Are you on that app again?” 

He turned, but before he could make eye contact with his wife, he felt the pancake bobble on the spatula. He tried to get under it to volley it up, but he stumbled and missed, letting it fall in the grass. An awww escaped his lips as he turned back to the window, where the full moon of his wife’s face eclipsed into the dark of her scalp. 

He picked up the pancake, letting it rest flat against his palm. For a moment it felt like a baby’s soft, warm head. But then the evening chill had its way and the possibly fly death-scarred cake turned cold and doughy. One way or another, dinner hour had come and gone. Resigned, he frisbeed the disc away into the dark sky, a soft, sweet sacrifice tossed to the cosmos.  

Christina Kapp teaches at The Writers Circle Workshops in New Jersey. Her writing has appeared in The Forge Literary Magazine, Passages North, and The MacGuffin. She welcomes you to follow her on Twitter @ChristinaKapp, Instagram @christinakapp_ and visit her website: www.christinakapp.com.

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Every Day Fiction