I turned up the TV to drown out the constant droning in the garage. I couldn’t do anything about the hot, metal stench seeping through the house. I asked him before to open the garage door to help filter that stink, but his paranoia over being spied on was too great.
The sudden silence from his work bench was a relief. When he came inside, he held his hands cupped together, grinning like a little kid who caught his first grasshopper. A faint buzzing was coming from inside his hands.
“Want to see?” He bounced from foot to foot, a look of delight on his face.
It was easy to imagine him doing this same victory dance as a small boy, just before releasing a trapped bug on his mother.
“Come sit,” I said, patting the couch cushion beside me, hoping he would calm down a little.
He held his hands up to one eye, opening his fingers slightly and giggling. I put my hand on his arm to keep him from making any sudden movements.
Opening his hands, a small ornithopter appeared like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. It was exquisite in its detail, from its silver, filigree wings to its crimson, cloisonné body.
“That’s what you’ve been working on all this time?” Dazzled by the beauty of his invention.
A giggle bubbled up again, as he vigorously nodded his head. Lifting his hands slowly, he tossed his automaton dragonfly into the air. It shuddered slightly, then began fluttering its lacy wings, hovering over our heads.
We watched it gracefully fly about the room, flitting from lamp to lamp, alighting on picture frames and the fireplace mantle.
I was so fascinated by this magical contraption I didn’t consider turning off the ceiling fan, so when it got caught in the blades I couldn’t move fast enough to flip the switch. Once I managed to turn off the fan, I dared to look at the damage.
I will always wonder why he decided to manufacture a dragonfly, but I finally understood how it got the moniker “Devil’s Darning Needle.” It was harder trying to explain to the authorities how a toy bug, being shot into his eye from a spinning ceiling fan, killed my husband.