Birds on the Roof

Bird outline on glass
Photo by 35mmMan on Flickr Creative Commons

‘How do the dead birds end up on the roof?’

‘Excuse me?’

The fifty-something woman with a tight bun and glasses looked at me like I was the first human she’d ever seen. This obviously wasn’t a question she had expected, but I couldn’t help that those days, that was the first thing on my mind. I mean, the other day, when I went to the mall, bought an ice cream, and went outside to eat it, I stood under the glass roof, since it was raining. I looked up and saw these black smudges all over the roof. First I thought it was mud or leaves or both, but then I noticed the feathers. Like five smashed bird corpses were lying over my head, and I couldn’t stop staring at those black spots, and I just couldn’t understand. I didn’t understand how a bird could slam vertically. Because, horizontally, that’s fine, I mean, sometimes they crash into glass doors and windows, but onto a glass roof? A hawk might have caught them, but decided to have something else for dinner, and dropped their lifeless corpses? Or they had a heart attack in the air when flying over the mall? Or they committed suicide? I started to wonder whether birds could stop flying intentionally, in the middle of the sky, and then fall into the deep, or if their survival instinct was stronger, like us humans cannot suffocate ourselves with our bare hands. Well, I couldn’t figure it out, although I even Googled “birds on the roof,” but I didn’t find anything. I also went back to the mall to investigate all this; I sat on a bench in front of the entrance, hoping a bird would fall under while I was there, solving the mystery. But I had no luck. Haven’t had any since. And now, sitting in one of the meeting rooms of that all-glass office building, I couldn’t help but think about this dead bird thing.

The HR lady definitely didn’t have this in mind when, at the end of the interview, she asked if I had any questions. I could see it on her face; I blew all my chances, but I didn’t really want that job anyway. Actually, I like freelancing, but my therapist told me it would do good for me if I met some new people, so that is why I applied for it. But really, I like working from home. So many things there you can observe. For example, there was a time when I thought my neighbor was dead. My opposite neighbor, I mean. Because when on Tuesday and Saturday nights from seven to eight I was practicing yoga in my bedroom, I noticed he always had his lights on. Of course, first I thought he happened to be at home at the same time as I was, or maybe he wasn’t that bar-hopping type either. But one night I stayed up until dawn, and noticed he still didn’t turn the lights off. I wanted to stay up till morning or until I had to, to make sure he was all right, that he was only a late bird, not a corpse; but, at the end, I couldn’t help but fell asleep before I could solve the mystery. And the next day, at daylight, from this distance I couldn’t tell if he still had the lights on. So from then on, I kept watching his window. Once I even made some calculations of what his apartment number could be, and went over and rang the doorbell, but nobody answered. Then I really started to worry, and I was about to call the police, or at least look up on the internet how to figure out if your neighbor was dead. I think the HR lady was lucky I spared her this question. So, one time, I even grabbed my phone and started to dial 911, when in the house across the street that very light was suddenly turned off. Well, I was not convinced it was not that the bulb burned out after this endless session, but finally decided to hang up anyway. If he was really dead, I thought, someone will find him in time, I mean, before the stink appears. I was always terrified to die like this: to lie there, not getting found by anyone for months. When I told my therapist about all this, she again said, I should go out more with my friends or find a new hobby, so I wouldn’t be alone that often.

I would really like to be cooperative, so once I signed for one of these right-brain drawing courses, but after the second lesson I realized I wasn’t interested at all. Then I tried sushi making, pole dancing, and karate, but quit all of them. My therapist told me I should try harder. I shouldn’t expect I would be into everything at once; I should just jump into it and do until I start to like it. She might be right. But the thing is, these days I don’t really like to leave the house. When I went out to check on my neighbor or to this job interview, these were quite hard as well. Not like I am agoraphobic or something. I don’t have any phobias. I’m not even afraid of spiders or flying. In fact, they say I’m not even careful enough; many times I run across the street to catch the bus and stuff. It’s just that, when Jack died, he happened to collapse in front of the house when we were about to go out that Friday night to watch some movie his sister suggested. And since then, I haven’t been able to think about anything else when seeing that eight-foot long concrete strip any time I close the gate behind me and turn back to step on the sidewalk.

My therapist says at the beginning, this is normal, but because almost two years has passed since, it is time for me to move on, meet some new guys and stuff. Well, she’s not all wrong, so I agreed to go on a blind date one of my friends set me up for, but at the end I changed my mind and decided not to show up. I went to a driving school instead, so that is what I’m doing now every Thursday evening. I don’t really need a license, since I almost never go anywhere, but I wanted to get the first-aid training. Because I thought, if I ever get remarried, and my next husband also has a heart attack right in front of our house, and I can perform proper CPR, that incident won’t end up that fatal. My therapist was glad I finally found something that made me go out, although she wasn’t satisfied with my reasons. She told me it was not at all likely that this would ever happen. I don’t know if there are any statistics about the chance of your second husband dying the same way the first did. I’ve even Googled it, but didn’t find anything. I think the HR lady was lucky I spared her this question.

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