Emma Lovell

The gulls flew inland that morning.

He was outside, pulling up carrots for the stew Elsa said she would cook tonight. He always loved it when she cooked stew and their small wooden home blossomed with deep, thick scents of the earth. He felt loved when Elsa cooked stew.

The carrots were stubborn; this batch was not as healthy as the last. They had had a strange frost earlier in the year and Jose had cursed it, expecting all of his hard work to die in the ground. He had been surprised when he pulled the first vegetable. It was not fatally damaged. They could still be eaten. Elsa had praised the Lord for saving them from starvation. Jose tried to believe her—it kept him from cursing the Lord for spoiling the food.

Jose felt he never had enough room in his heart for how much he loved his wife. She kept him together, he always said. If she walked away he would dissemble; his bones would just fall apart.

She always told him the day she left him would be the day the cows would no longer eat grass, the day babies ceased to ask for their mothers. She told him the day she left him would be the day he no longer loved the smell of her stew. She said the day she left him would be the day the gulls were scared of the water.

The gulls flew inland that morning, and as Jose looked up to watch them, he heard the pot inside boil over.

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