Monday, May 28, 2007

Death of a Lover...

It was incredibly slow at work today. Everyone is still on holiday. Only the most ardent of regulars dropped by and even then, they were few and far between. It caused me to gaze out of the store-front into the street. I tend to try and stare down and attract customers when it is really slow.

In the middle of the street there lay a pigeon. It had recently died. It probably died before I had even got there in the morning, but I hadn't noticed. So many things go unnoticed when your mind is occupied.

Circling it was another pigeon. This one was lighter in coloring. It circled the motionless feathered body. At first I imagined that it was another scavenger of the street, feasting on a fresh road-kill. However, the circling pigeon made no attempt to peck at the other. It simply circled it, tilting its head every now and then.

As cars would pass, the live pigeon would fly back a few feet to safety. It would then return to its vigil. Each time though it got a little further back, slowly distancing itself from the dead pigeon. Each time a car passed, the dead pigeon would get hit again. And again. And again.

Eventually it was a flattened pile of feathers. All of its shape and definition had been lost by the repeated crushing of tires. I tried to spot the other pigeon, but could not see it anywhere. Had it left? Or was it just out of sight? How cruel to be thus abandoned.

A boy on a skateboard unconsciously rode over the dead pigeon's body. A flattened wing (still intact, but noticeably ragged) caught a bit of wind in the boy's wake and flew up. From the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of tan wings in the facade of the building, over a pile of debris tucked in the architectural frieze. A nest. Down flew the bird, looking once more curiously at the pile of feathers no longer animated by the passing of a stranger. It flew back up to the nest. Alive. Alone.

5 comments:

Cindy said...

So sad...I get such a sense of indifference and unawareness running through your story...the cars, the skateboarder, even the bird who wasn't aware of the car that killed it...and yet there you are observing and caring about it all...and the mate, still alive and who knows what life will bring to it in the future. Always the wheel turns and life begins again. Oh..and even lots of wheels and circles in the telling of the events, so the hope of renewal is there even in the sadness.

Janice said...

I did a bird story as well... check it out... under *signs 2" for me , at that particular time.. I found a different slant mind you, totally different circumstances...

erin said...

i don't know why i thought of this. it's the first paragraph from "jazz."

Sth, I know that woman. She used to live with a flock of birds on Lenox Avenue. Know her husband, too. He fell for an eighteen-year-old girl with one of those deepdown, spooky loves that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going. When the woman, her name is Violet, went to the funeral to see the girl and to cut her dead face they threw her to the floor and out of the church. She ran, then, through all that snow, and when she got back to her apartment she took the birds from their cages and set them out the windows to freeze or fly, including the parrot that said, "I love you."

Andrew Thornton said...

That breaks my heart a little, Erin. I can see why it came to mind and thank you for mentioning it. It seems strangely apt right now.

paula best said...

so sad.....i hate the fact that birds mate for life (mostly i think) and then when their "person" dies or is killed it seems like they are so confused and troubled.......it is just too sad...and the lack of respect for things killed "on the road" always bothers me. living in the country i see way too much of it. my yard is a safe place for all the birds and whatever comes here. i take comfort in that at least.

andrew...by the way...i read your blog often...you are a gifted writer/artist. will i see you at bead and button? take care, paula