I was sitting on the couch reading a book in soft late afternoon sunlight wondering and waiting for nothing in particular. The familiar creaking of bad suspension drifting in through the hallway that leads to the street. Swooshing of car tires on hot asphalt punctuated with break squeaks or the inserted chirp of a nearby bird, a pigeon maybe. Do pigeons chirp? Does anything in this city chirp?
She told me yesterday that her husband had died the week before. All alone in that apartment with him for years, alone besides the dog, I don’t know his name but he is white and small and quiet, just like her. She walked him every hour, I would see her in front of my window out in that late afternoon sunlight, but in other light too, less buttery light, louder light.
This whole time I’ve lived here, right next to her, and never knew there was a husband inside, silently breathing in-and-out-in-and-out on her bed, waiting patiently for his last in-and-out-and-in-and-out, waiting for his own eternal slice of afternoon sunlight, rich and golden, thick, enveloping him like maple syrup on steamy hot pancakes.
Well I guess he died just last week. And now she is all alone, at 75, all alone in that apartment with that dog and the deafening sound of her own inhales, her own exhales, oneness. The peculiar thing was, the first time she spoke to me was yesterday, and the first time I saw her teeth and saw her lips twisted into a smile let alone any expression at all was yesterday too. So maybe she feels better this way.
Anyways I was reading a book, sitting, thinking to myself that I had a stomachache when all of a sudden I was reading the word “stomachache” on a page of mismatched letters and foreign words, and feeling quiet alone myself. I decided that pigeons do not chirp, although my son tells me that they make their own milk, which sounds like quite and accomplishment for a bird in this city or any bird at all really.