23 December 2013
As we were leaving the house this morning, someone buzzed up to our flat with a delivery. I accepted it, thinking it was probably for our neighbours, especially when she walked up the stairs with a big bouquet of flowers. But no! It was for me! I accepted it, completely dumbstruck. Andrew wouldn’t send flowers to me at home — he would bring them home to me instead. Who is sending flowers to be delivered?
It turns out they’re from Nile: the design company where Andrew works, and where I come in and work part-time. They thanked me for being so supportive of Andrew for all of the late nights he spends at work, and for being such a support when I am working there with their clients and participants.
It was so validating, and it felt so great to be acknowledged.
We put the ornaments on the tree, had homemade leek and potato soup for dinner, and are all gathered around in the living room listening to Christmas carols.
And I got three letters in the mail today. Four, actually.
It is a spectacularly good day, to be known as a “four-letter day” from now on.
The first thing I heard this morning
was a rapid flapping sound, soft, insistent—
wings against glass as it turned out
downstairs when I saw the small bird
rioting in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of glass into the spacious light.
Then a noise in the throat of the cat
who was hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in the cold night
through the flap of a basement door,
and later released from the soft grip of teeth.
On a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a shirt and got it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth.
But outside, when I uncupped my hands,
it burst into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks.
For the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms as I wondered about
the hours it must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,
its eyes open, like mine as I lie in bed tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked into a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.