I saw a seagull once when I was a kid. Walking through the parking lot after a long day at the office.
It was winter. Snow and ice where I lived. The parking lot was cleared but that meant piles of snow in random corners.
This little guy was hopping on one leg. At first I couldn’t see why. I spotted his odd gait from afar.
He only had one foot. One foot, you know? My heart hurt. Through the walls of my chest I could feel my heart singing in tune with the hobble of this bird. In the middle of winter.
I think his foot got frozen to something metal and was torn off when he broke free.
Nobody likes seagulls. Kids throw rocks at seagulls. Kids soak white bread in bleach and hope to watch seagulls explode.
Seagulls don’t like seagulls.
I had no food in my purse. I wanted to scoop him into my arms and like soothe him so I could get him into my two door shitbox. Take him home to my apartment. Make a nest with cardboard and linen. Give him seed or whatever seagulls are supposed to eat. Grain maybe.
But all I did was allow my heart to break a little bit. And I looked for him every day as I walked through the parking lot.
Years later, when I was a bit older, I was walking through a suburban neighbourhood on a windy day.
I looked up in time to see a robin looking for a safe place to land.
The wind tossed her like an empty paper bag. I thought for a minute she would fall right out of the sky.
She landed and then tucked herself under some leaved branches.
My heart found her way back into my chest.