He woke up first and waited until she was stirring. Thoughts had been flowing through his head all morning like the currents of a mighty river, strong and swift and earth-moving. They had been dating for six months and he barely remembered a time before she appeared.  It made him nervous.

“I am side-swiped by your beauty every instant I spend with you, my dear,” he told her sweetly once her eyes opened to the bright world. “You are the stars in the sky and the flowers in the ground, you are my universe and everything inside it. I love you. ”

They’ve been sleeping on the roof of an old brownstone in Boston for the past week, in the middle of summer with the sun’s heat waking them up every morning at 7am. Her raspberry hair was getting lighter and the constellation of freckles on her face reminded him of a pointilistic painting. She had her head on his chest. She couldn’t see it, but a giant smile was plastered across his face, stretching from ear to ear.

“I’m not use to this kind of feeling,” she said with a note of sorrow in her voice.

“I just want you to feel happy, is that a crime?”

Down on the street garbagemen were arguing in their rough Southie accents about the Sox’s chances against the team from Tampa Bay. The Devil Rays, is it? She turned and stared at him with vast eyes that were both familiar like an old sweater and mysterious like the ocean floor. Pure blue, except for when she wore green. How do eyes know how to match your clothing? He wondered.

She sighed. “I don’t ever want to get out of this bed.”

He detected a note of desperation in her statement.

“You mean our sleeping bag?” He asked, his voice faltering. 

“It doesn’t matter…”

“I’ll get the air conditioner turned on this week, I swear.”

“I told you, it doesn’t matter.”

“Luckily it hasn’t been a very humid July,” he noted.

A plane carried indifferent passegners high overhead, leaving a long, straight vapor trial in the sky. For some odd reason, it made him think of that poem by Robert Blake that he just remembered a fragment of.  It went something like ‘the hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs/ Thousands of little girls & little boys raising their innocent hands. Now like a mighty wind they raise to Heaven the voice of song…’ Or was that William Blake? He was trying to remember who was the poet and who is the lil’ rascal when he heard her say…

“I’m pregnant.”

The hum of the buzzing power line momentarily drowned out his thoughts. The conversations of the passengers on the 757 were loudly broadcasted 30,000 feet down to him. His heart suddenly felt like a dump truck spilling its load. He wanted to shout with joy and jump off the building at the same time. He loved her but how could he raise a family when he couldn’t even pay the electric bill? If he told her how incredibly frightened this made him all she would say was it doesn’t matter, Love is enough. But is it?

He took her face in his hands and kissed her nose. A small tear leaked down her cheek. She lowered her eyelids and more burst free. It’s only when we try to contain our emotions that they spring forth so unmolested, bursting through the dam. Oh, how he wanted just then to be a heroic warrior, he realized gloomily, and die famously in battle, like Achilles, and what a cowardly way for him to think.

He swallowed deeply and told her, “that’s wonderful!”

“You’re just saying that,” she cried. “You’re scared shitless, I can see it in your face. You’re not happy…”

Time crawled forward, assumably progessing but seeming to him static. A swamp. He didn’t know what to say. He lifted the nylon bag off of him and the sun warmed his back. He proped himself on his elbows and let his head drop down so that their foreheads almost touched. His back arched over her and the ridge in his spine made him look like a mini-stegosauras.

“What are you going to do? What are you thinking?” He finally asked.

A dirty shotgun-gray pigeon landed on the hot tar a few feet from where they lay on the foam mattress/makeshift bed. It began walking around in spasmodic, pointless circles. Cooing dumbly. Its neck was a shimmering oily, rainbow complexion. Its pupils were coal black in an amniotic pool the color of gyspum. It was pecking at invisible specks on the roof. It stopped and stared at them for a second and then continued on its mission.

“I think there’s nothing good about pigeons,” came her reply.


6 thoughts on “Pigeons

  1. totally engaging aos, beautifully written. enjoyed the references to boston and southie and very funny the confusion about robert/william blake.
    i like very much the way you have with words aos, great stuff

  2. This story encapsulates how we all feel from time to time- totally ecstatic and scared at the same time. We are afraid to let ourselves go to a new place for fear of failure or disappointing someone else. Then we concentrate on the mundane to get us through. Nice.

  3. I really liked the line “you are the stars in the sky and the flowers in the ground . . .” It had a lot of variance to it and was a good write.

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