brevity_moncrieffAs I heard the story she liked him but she wasn’t sure, so Gideon-like she asked “Lord, give me a sign,” and just to make sure the deity was authentically involved she said “make it a sign with a pheasant.” The next time Mr. X showed up he opened with “I almost hit a pheasant on the way here.” Gideon might have asked for confirmation with an American Bittern followed by a Hudsonian Godwit, last seen in the county in 2003, but unless X were an advanced birder, which seems unlikely despite his wing-flapping name, he would have had no clue as to what he almost smacked or otherwise encountered in the operations of providence. He could, perhaps, have said “I nearly hit a large shorebird with an upturned bill,” to which she asks, with scarcely concealed excitement, “and what about the coloration?” To which he answers “breeding plumage with dark reddish chest and black barring on the sides.” But God, knowing how easily we are stunned—like birds banging into a window revealing his glory—held back, and she, quite satisfied with the pheasant, followed X to the altar. And what of the happy pheasant, who was just missed? In a proper ending, he would wander occasionally through the lovers’ back yard in winter, pecking at the grain they left out.

Scott Moncrieff has published literary pieces in Christian Century, The Nebraska Review, Light, Potpourri, and other publications. He has been an English teacher at Andrews University for over twenty years.

Photo by Tricia Louvar