I spent 15 minutes watching a robin build it’s nest in front of my late friend Jackie’s old building, fascinated by the bird’s skill and perseverance. He’d fly straight up to install whatever item he found appealing, then swoop back down to look for another like he was comparison shopping at Bloomingdales.
“So, how much for that twig, the one by the hedge? I’m designing a deck outside our bedroom. It’s the exact size I’ve been looking for. How much…what? Why, the price of twigs have certainly gone up.”
At first I thought it was a female feathering her nest until suddenly a part of the paper was retrieved from a trash can. It’s was the sports page, then dropped as if it clashed with the wallpaper.
I thought of Jackie and how much she loved decorating. Though she had plenty of money to hire someone, she always did it herself, gathering whatever caught her eye, like her Japanese mahogany window box she’d load with geraniums, and rather than a window, display in the living room.
Maybe it was Jacks coming back as a bird, so beautiful and industrious…happy to be tending her house humming a little birdsong.
I looked up to her old windows remembering all the afternoons spent in her peach and beige living room drinking champagne giggling over Hilton, her deaf Cocker Spaniel, or some movie we saw. Imagine Diane Keaton’s face and personality in a Chanel suit and prim pumps, strands of pearls draped around her neck.
When the robin landed right in front of me after one of it’s installations, we stared at one another in fleeting recognition.
I walked toward home thinking…I think I’ll clean out my drawers and change the sheets, laughing to myself, a bird could inspire such domesticity.
But maybe it was Jackie who did the inspiring coming back as one. Get hold of yourself Susannah.
Suddenly out of nowhere a band of birds flew overhead singing what sounded like the prelude to the Sound of Music, one of her favorite films.
When I went home, it hit me…today was her birthday…maybe she came back for a little champagne.