He made my shoulder home, though I was afraid and I didn’t know what it meant.
His tiny suitcase was packed with glass orbs and paper dolls and scissors.
The fact that he had not already been informed of how sharp his talons were, and how the gripping of human flesh with them hurt, gave me cause for concern, which made me nervous.
He first arrived when my shoulders were already engorged with a sorrow I couldn’t fully understand, the weight of which alone had been pressing me closer to the ground without anchoring me in my body.
I thought he had come to get a better handle on the scalpel I had been using along my shoulder blade to let the pressure. What I was doing had been working only sometimes, while other times it seemed to make it worse.
But he would have nothing to do with my blade. And his weight plus the near-punctures of my skin as he shifted from talon to talon became too much.
I told him as much, but he didn’t leave.
This set off alarms in my central nervous system, which sent out a signal to my heart to crouch down on her haunches and cover her head.
He stayed. No matter how I cowered, he stayed. I suppose he is one who waits for nobody but he was patient with me.
That kind of patience through that kind of overwhelming anxiety and sorrow reminded me of something. That not being bothered by my fear but not being moved to comfort me reminded me of something.
He waited through me tensing my shoulder muscles each time he landed, through my shrugging him off, through my swatting at him, through my screaming for him to leave.
He waited until I was calmer before whispering into my ear.
But I was never calmer. And the time came when he could not wait anymore.
Each foreign word left a need for interpretation. When I believed I understood the main point of his message, I panicked.
Why my shoulder if not someone I loved? Why tell me if I wasn’t supposed to do something?
Was it too late? What was I supposed to do?
He didn’t anticipate my response, or maybe it wasn’t his job to do anything but relay the message.
How could I know God sent him to my shoulder as a sign for me to find comfort?
I failed to find comfort. My neck got more and more stiff.
I had nobody to talk to about it.
My journal entries from that time are cryptic and packed with synonyms of grief.
Eventually, he tucked his suitcase under his wing and left. I didn’t understand why.