Here’s this week’s story. I think there are all kinds of ways to interpret this one, which I find saitsfying.
Her Love Returns
By Laura McHale Holland
She fell in love with a python when she was fifteen. People say she hasn’t been right ever since. She met him in her backyard. She saw a flash of gold near the hot tub gazebo and gave chase, cornering it in the bamboo that had taken over a swath of earth by the fence. Their eyes locked in the moment. Hers were darkest brown; the serpent’s were an emerald green, glowing against his body of golden scales. He shimmered even in the shade.
There was no need to talk. They shared each other’s thoughts, enraptured. They began meeting in the bamboo each day after school. She stroked his long torso with slender hands; he twined around her torso and pressed a little harder each day.
One afternoon her mother came out with some vegetable scraps to add to the compost bin and saw a glint of gold in the bamboo. Uncertain what she might find, she grabbed an axe leaning against the fence near the bin and tiptoed over to the bamboo. There she saw her daughter limp in the snake’s grasp. The mother whacked at the serpent once, twice, thrice. Golden liquid seeped from the wounds and pooled in the dirt. The snake unwound and slithered away.
The mother carried her unconscious daughter to the car and sped to the hospital. When the girl awoke three days later, she asked about the python. Gone, she was told, and thank goodness. When she was released from the hospital, the first thing the girl did was run to the bamboo, but there was no sign of the python. In the dirt, though, was the gold that had trickled from the snake’s wounds, now solid and shaped into a ball that fit perfectly into her palm.
That was two years ago. The family doctor says the girl suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen. The mother worries because her daughter takes such a long time to answer even the simplest questions like, what day is it or where do you live? The girl knows better, though, for very morning before school she sits up in bed and holds the golden ball. She closes her eyes, and her love returns to her. They entwine in bliss until her mother calls to her and says it’s time for breakfast. She’s told no one about her morning trysts. She’d rather they think she’s brain damaged than crazy.