Everyday the same ritual. I take my seat on the couch and sip coffee–cream, no sugar.  I look out the picture window and wait. The shrubs, tiny when I moved here, have grown, even in this weak soil, year by year and now hide the view. I can only see out through the top half of the window. The lamppost, at the end of the walk, no longer functions. The walk, once colorful paving stones, laid in a intricate and elaborate pattern, is covered with weeds, barely visible.

I wait for the mockingbird. Each morning at this precise time he alights the lamppost, flicks his white tail and flies away. Then the sparrow takes his place. She sits longer, more patiently but at last leaves when the robin appears, perches at the top of the lamppost– briefly, then she’s gone. Finally the cardinals arrive, the female first. She takes her place and looks about in her bird-like manner, searching for something. Her mate arrives, circles above her. She flies into the trees following him.

Everyday, the same, except for today. They do not come, none of them. I wait. Where are they? What has happened? My coffee is cold. I rise and go to the window. My feet hurt–nothing new. Arthritis has claimed my bones. I am so stiff. I am so slow.

I unlatch one of the four windows, the only one that hasn’t rusted shut. Two latches. They are hard to release but I manage. I crank the handle using both hands. The window groans as it opens. The fresh air rushes in, the only fresh air for many years now.  Beside me on the handmade oak table, the leaves of the potted plant rustle.  I turn to look. The dust on the table moves in the breeze. The clock, which I wind each day, ticks softly. Beside it, the five marble eggs–green, purple, white, and two blue ones–sit upon their porcelain stands and shine in the light.  

I glance out the window and up into the trees. I lay my hand on the table to steady myself. I touch something sharp and look down. The eggs, tossed off their pedestals are cracked open: hollow, translucent, empty.

© Glenda Kotchish

May 29, 2018