Our home is filled with living creatures. A tiny grey slug slides up the wall above J’s pink flipflops, a longer, patterned one leaves a glistening trail along the back of the Lamu couch. A frog, small and round as a loonie, hops down the hall. Phil and the girls watch its webbed toes grip the tile, try to catch it in small cupped hands. P finds a black beetle, its sides lined with thick yellow stripes, lets it rest in her palm while she eats leftover caramel popcorn. The girls are delighted at each small visitor, welcome them with gentleness, like distant cousins.

P and I step into the art store, admire paintings of the ocean, giraffes. The owner, usually grumpy and aloof, smiles at us, stands to pull large canvases from behind corners. He tells us about Sudanese artists, exhibits in Montreal, the evolution of matter that occurred before the organic evolution, points at beautiful orange images as he talks. P moves silently through the room, traces her finger along gilt frames, whispers about colour while we talk about God.

The rain pounds so loudly against the roof that my heart races as I lie in the night’s darkness. It lasts for hours, like a continuous roll of thunder that my body doesn’t trust.

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