Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hugs to Your Soul and a Broken Bird

I was probably telling her a story I had already told...twice. I wasn't looking at her but swiveling my head back and forth from street corner to street corner while we walked through Greenich Village. I had to see everything, I had to watch every move and read every sign. She'd seen it all a dozen times, I didn't know when I would see it again. I didn't even notice she was gone for at least two and a half steps. I looked back and rising from a kneel she protectingly held a little dirty gray ball of feathers. It's beak, an orange yellow sliver poked outwards, originating at a glossy black eye. Her attention that had been generously donated to my reciprocated tale had disappeared and a channel of concern flowed between her and the little broken bird, stuck on the concrete sidewalk, hopping in front of a doorway, waiting to be smashed and only noticed too late. It looked at her and didn't move. She looked around, for what I'm not sure. Maybe a tree, a mother bird, somewhere safer, there was nothing. Then she looked up at me, a soft smile below faintly pleading eyes. I didn't have any idea of what to do with the bird. I know both the bird and Stephanie didn't want to end the day separated but in the end, we had to put the bird back down and force ourselves to continue walking, trying not to feel guilty. Birds can't go on airplanes that have to be caught a cab ride away.
It is just the kind of person Stephanie is. This whole ordeal, minutes long, over two months ago, it won't be something she will have to remember. She will still wonder if it was the right thing to do. The question won't stem from her own conscience. Rather, it comes from just the simple care she has for anything around her. She gave me a book earlier that week and wrote inside, "Consider this just one of many big hugs to your soul." Only people who stop to pick up broken birds, know how to give those kind of hugs. I speak for myself and for the bird, we are glad we know her. From both of us; thank you, thank you. It is comforting to know there is a person who is paying enough attention to the dark corners of doorways or the sound of your voice to know when to stop, kneel down, and hug your soul.