Morgan Fox and Marcia Russell

Marcia Russell
Inspiration Piece

When Pigs Fly
Morgan Fox

Rodney Curran turned off the television at 11:47pm, even though the movie was only half over, because Rodney did not like seeing the clock turn midnight. He rationalized that, if he did not witness the switch from old day to new, he could justify going to bed whenever he wanted, that he was innocent when interrogated by his wife, who, for the thirty-some years they’d been married, had gone to bed at 10pm promptly.

Besides, Diane would be home soon, and he didn’t want her to think he’d waited up.

Rodney stood in front of the bay window, hands nestled in his pockets, smile plastered across his face as he stared out at the stars and the moon glowing over the line of trees hedging his neighbor’s property. The breeze buffeted the mesh screen. A frog or a cicada or some such nocturnal animal creaked in the lawn. A serene July night.

So imagine his surprise when he woke up the next morning to find five feet of snow in his front yard.

At 8:30am, Diane woke to her stepmother stripping the blankets from her bed, exposing her bare cheeks to the window panes, equally stripped of their blinds. “Put some clothes on, your father’s finally lost it,” Stephanie Curran chided as Diane shoved her head under the pillows. “I need you to wrangle him.”

“Why can’t you wrangle him?” Diane grumbled, hangover crawling up her brainstem.

“Because. He’s your father.”

“But he’s your husband.”

“I just need you to go deal with that, okay?” Stephanie’s footsteps stalked off across the room, out the door, down the hall. “I have a headache.”

“You always have a headache,” Diane told the mattress but folded upright anyway, a tangle of limbs forcing her body to a sitting position, knee elbow elbow wrist toes knee butt, until she faced the window. Her eyes popped open. “It snowed.”

From the bathroom, the opening then slamming of the medicine cabinet: “Yes!”

“It’s July.”

Garbled between a Valium and water: “Diane! Outside! Please!”

Diane shifted and landed flat again, ceiling rocking from side to side above her. Instead she allowed herself to pour off the bed, melting to her wrists and knees, a Diane-puddle that soaked into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt that she had left crumpled on the floor. The fabric breathed back at her, a musky scent, the stagnancy of the bar and her sweat but something else beyond that and more familiar than either. A dribble of memory sloshed forward: the smell of a hug from strong arms. Mica. She pushed herself to her feet.

In the bathroom she checked her phone. Four texts and a voicemail from Mica.

2:26am: Just got home. Let me know when you do too

Followed shortly by: I had fun tonight

Another shred of memory, accompanied by the cold shiver of guilt: his fingers tugging at her jeans, her knuckles hooking through his beltloops, through denim barrier the feel of him pressing between her legs. Mica: her best friend. The boy next door. She kept reading.

2:58am: Hello? Did you get home okay?

5:18am: I’m guessing you’re home? Call me in morning?

Diane checked the voicemail’s timestamp. 4:37am. Fuck. He’d waited up all night.

<Hey it’s me, and it’s ummmm I dunno like stupid early in the morning and um, I just woke up cuz I had to uh bathroom, anyway uh, anyway I still haven’t heard from you if you got home okay or whatever and I just wanna make sure you got home okay. Okay? Yeeeah. So, like, text me? Kay? I’mma stay up a little longer if I can, so y’know. Lemme know. Bye.>

Hazy clips from the night before jigsawed together. She had to call him, at least let him know she wasn’t dead. Besides, he was probably sleeping.

To her chagrin, Mica answered. <Heyyyyyyyyy.>

“Why are you awake?”

<I’m not. I’m totally still drunk. You got home?>

“Yeah.” The loss of words tasted like watered-down bourbon: ice and brown alcohol, the tang of tastelessness. “It snowed.”

<Whaaaaaaa?> Something scrunched across the line, as if Mica dropped the phone, static denim and the blinds crinkling. <Holy fuck.>

“Do you remember what happened last night?”


Oh shit, ran through Diane’s head.

We arrive at the bar separately, Mica early enough to have a beer by himself, Diane later with her bicycle like old times. We hug, because we always hug, once at the beginning and once at the end and any number of hugs in between when we want to, when we feel like it, when we need to. Mica offers to buy the first round: Diane slaps her hands on the bar top and announces, Whiskey. Whiskey? Yes, whiskey, because I’m tired of vodka and I can have beer any time but good American bourbon, now that is worth coming home for. We clink Bulleit on the rocks, Cheers. We talk. What do we talk about? The usual things, how we are or what we’ve been up to, the minute oddities of what it means to be “Diane,” what it means to be “Mica.” Translating Lithuanian folk tales or redrafting designer plates, drinking Three-Nines with the locals in a small village outside Klaipėda or drinking beers with the grad students in the shop after hours, the Baltic Sea at sunrise or the same-old same-old. The second bourbon we loosen up, become Diane and Mica, our jokes and our remember-when’s. Our stories get longer, the details come out, the glasses are replaced. We spy a table in the back and move camp. At some point we decide shots are a good idea. After shots we decide water is a good idea. After shots we go back to bourbon on the rocks for the ice, because this bar is hot. We start the bathroom dance, first one, then the other. We get another round. We get another round. We say something funny, or poignant, or somehow strangely sad, we hug again, we’ve probably hugged about five times by now. We linger. We drink. We start laughing at nothing in particular, we hug again. The air between us is hot. We bury our noses in the crook of our shoulders and we breathe each other and though we are not touching the air between us is hot. We pull away and Diane goes to get us another round of water, and when she comes back Mica is humming some song we think sounds familiar, When pigs fly and when it snows in July I’ll not cry I’ll not cry. We cheers the water and we drink and we sit too close because otherwise we feel too far away and when we talk now we press our foreheads together and when we talk now we press our lips together and when we talk now our words taste like our tongues

“Yeah okay,” Diane said.

A pause on the other end of the line. <Everything all right?>

She wanted to say: No, because this always happens, we are always on the brink but we always stop ourselves and then we say something stupid like we’ll talk about it when we’re sober and we never do, we just push it under the surface and pretend like nothing happened and we’re all cool until the next time when it happens again. So what do we want. Are we in love or not?


What did it really matter. Her extension application had gone through. This was only a layover before she went back to Lithuania, probably the last time she’ll see him for, what, years? Was it worth risking the friendship?

Instead she said: “Yeah. Fine.”

Diane stepped from the porch, stepped in her father’s bootprints, squinting against the sun and the snow the while. Despite the recent change in weather, it was eerily hot, like touching a hot surface and feeling a chill under the white heat; she regretted grabbing her winter coat from her luggage.

“Hey dad.”

Rodney shot upright. “Diane!” he cried, brandishing the shovel. “It–! Snow–! Ahhh–!”

“Yeah.” Diane flopped her hands in her pockets, penguin-style. “I know.”


“I dunno. Albedo effect?” Diane stopped at the fence’s edge, watching Rodney flounder around in the snow drifts. They dwarfed him. Perhaps in the same way they had dwarfed her, when she was a child. He shoveled snow off one pile, dropped it on the pile behind him, shuffled snow from one side of the driveway to the next and then back again. The brim on his bucket hat dipped in the center, and Diane wished it was cold. “Hey dad?”

Rodney bounced up again. “Yes!”

“I’m leaving.”

Finally Rodney stopped, dug the shovel into the nearest mound. “I know.”

“I don’t know when I’m coming back.”

“Well. The impossible has already happened.” They sat a moment. “You okay?”

“I’m fine, just. Something in my eye.”

Note: All of the art, writing, and music on this site belongs to the person who created it. Copying or republishing anything you see here without express and written permission from the author or artist is strictly prohibited.