“I was thinking about life-rafts.”
“Life-rafts?” Mary took a seat at the kitchen table, “That’s an odd thing to think about.”
“Is it?” Ronald traced the line of morning sun, carefully navigating around his coffee cup.
“Are we going on a trip? A cruise or something?”
“Then why life-rafts?”
Ronald shrugged, “I was thinking we should get one.”
“A life-raft?” Mary laughed, “Ron, we don’t even have a boat.”
“Yes, but what if it floods?”
“Don’t be silly. If anything we’re in the middle of drought,” Mary sipped her coffee, watching a robin on the other side of the window, on the other side of thick glasses, “Besides, we live on a hill anyway.”
“All the same,” Ronald nodded, “I think we ought to get a life-raft.”
“You want one of those big yellow-rubber inflatable things?”
“Self-inflatable,” Ronald said, “I’d never be able to fill it up in time.”
“Expecting a flash flood?”
Ronald was paused a moment, scratching his head. His thin white hair had yet to be brushed.
“A what?” he said.
“A flash flood.” Mary refilled the cups.
“What about it?”
“Are you expecting one?”
“Why would I be expecting one?”
“Well, you were going on about needing a life-raft.” Mary looked back at Ronald, who looked back at Mary, most confused.
“Yes,” she said, getting up from the table to retrieve the toast.
“Oh,” Ronald puzzled it out, “When was this?”
“Yes, love.” Mary set a plate in front of him and kissed his brow, “But don’t worry about it.”
“No,” he said softly. Ronald ate and listened, listened and drank as Mary told him the news from the children, the neighbors, the mailman, the strangers. Ronald followed along pleasantly, for a time. For a time, until the flood waters crept in again, and again, carried him away. Mary noticed he was staring out the window.
“I was thinking about life-rafts,” he said.