[ Fiction: Tu Sei – December 21, 2006]
It didn’t take long for the pigeons to arrive.
Phil sat on his regular park bench, clearing the new-fallen snow out from under his seat and the spot on his right. His getting comfortable and opening up his bag full of seeds, seemed to have been the signal they had all been waiting for.
Phil snickered as they all cooed and clucked, landing at this feet with the braver ones landing on the bench beside him.
“Missed me, have you?” he smiled, causing those closest to him to jump away.
“I didn’t realize it had been so long,” he continued, scooping up a handful of seeds and tossing them to the ground.
He watched as they pecked at the seeds, clucking and jumping over each other.
“I didn’t really think I’d be back here,” he admitted as he looked at the seeds in his hands, rolling them in his palms. “Half a year has gone by since my last visit but I’m only here because my doctors say it’s the best way to recover and try to integrate myself back into society.”
He dropped the seeds and reached into the bag for more.
“It’s a good thing bird seed doesn’t rot, hm?” he tried smiling again but found it a little painful. Trembling, he let his hand drop back into the bag. “This is harder than I thought,” he admitted to himself, rubbing his eyes with his left hand.
He wiped a tear from his eye and looked at the birds. His right hand continued to grab at the seeds in the bag, digging deeper and deeper. His fingers felt something under the seeds and he pulled it out slowly. It was an envelope.
With trembling hands, he opened it as carefully as he could and stared at the card inside. A partridge on a pear tree smiled back at him. He opened it up and read the card. “Please don’t leave the pigeons alone. I’ll be there with you in spirit, but they still need you now. All my love, Gladys”
Phil bent forward and cried. When he had exhausted himself, he straightened up again and blew his nose. “I love you, Gladys,” he said to the card. “Merry Christmas.”
The pigeons cooed and continued pecking for seeds. Phil was in no rush to leave.
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