She was, however, a bird, and after a few questions I determined which bird: a sparrow which had been fluttering past my window for a week or two. How it is she came to acquire humanoid form, I never did quite understand, though I do remember the name of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck being dropped somewhere along the way. Nor did I understand why, in acquiring said form, she used as a model someone we all knew: instant acceptance without question, I’m guessing, and indeed, she was routinely greeted as though she were the one she’d copied, though it proved to be a blessing that the two of them never actually met.
I hung up a set of curtains behind the couch for a nesting area, and she asked me to bring her music, promising to keep the noise down. Her tastes apparently ran to the latter-day big bands: Paul Whiteman didn’t do a thing for her, but Toshiko Akiyoshi did. And vinyl, if possible, instead of CDs; something about the Compact Disc didn’t agree with her hearing.
What? Oh, that. Didn’t happen. I didn’t try. She had said that there were only a few days a month when it was even possible.
And right before one of those days, she became ill. I came back to her darkened corner; she told me to go away. I went to the phone instead.
The ambulance came, and they loaded her onto a gurney. I followed in my car. When we arrived at the ER, the doors were thrown open, and one attendant looked dazed: “I don’t know what happened. She gave out with a cry, and all of a sudden, she was, like, gone.”
I looked up into a tree, its branches nicely framed by the moonlight. I had no reason to think she was there, but the light was better.
[This is what happens when you get up early, cut through a swath of Web work, and go back to bed when the sun comes up.]