May 30, 2008

Beneath our fourth-floor-flat; somewhere on the sidewalk or in a nest fitted into the canopy of some tree, or maybe over the top of a gutter; I hear a mockingbird chic crying.  Well into the afternoon he or she utters peep after tiny peep into the thick air until you learn to ignore it as you might ignore the fire alarm with a low battery:  Beep…  beep.

Into the night, the chirping continues, though by this time I am only loosely aware of the sound emanating from some poor hapless creature outside my window.  It isn’t until after midnight, when my family is sleeping and the soothing fan is oscillating from its post across the room that I rediscover the little peeper in my head. 

“Peep,” it calls out; lonely.  “Peep,” it says, “I’m hungry.”  As the night wears on it begins to think, “Peep,”  “Come on guys; this isn’t funny.”  Where are you?  The little bird has been abandoned.  I consider getting up to investigate- but I am tired and my youngest child has a fever and has spent the day in the ER, so I wait it out.  Maybe the little bird will go to sleep. 

After midnight:  Peep, peep.  Peep.  Peep.  “Help me, I’m all alone!”  Poor bird.  I should get up and help it.  I am walking into the heat of the southern early summer, through the heavy fire door of my fourth-floor flat, down cement halls, barefoot and cautiously aware of my vulnerability.   I float into the smoky elevator that quacks at every floor and out through the gated door where I stand looking up at my darkened windows feeling very alone in the world.  Peep, I think to myself, peep.

“Peep” the bird cries and awakens me to the fact that I am only standing at an open window four protected floors above him.  Peep, I cry out inside.  

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