The wind was kind of bitey up there so she pulled her corduroy jacket closer, cinched the belt tighter, and resisted the urge to shiver while she dangled her legs over the edge and gazed into the alley below, littered like her memory with the refuse of life.
First one word, then another…she pulled a fistful out of her bag and untangled them from each other. Some were woolly, some well worn, some stiff and wiry, and others dirty and downright wormy. She dropped them one by one as she watched them flutter and grasp for handholds, then ultimately succumb to the gravity to which all things eventually surrender.
Doomed she thought, those words were. Once so hopeful and lively, they had twittered and tumbled through the landscape of her booming and rustling imagination.
Then there was that noise. It wasn’t coming from the words. It wasn’t a word noise. Too soft and clucking to be one of her word noises. Then came the flutters out of the corner of her eye, white and lively. It was too soon for angels. She was still here hovering above a dirty alley, alone in the wind, alone in the world.
Pigeons? Pigeons!! White-winged, grey-headed pigeons with curious, hopeful eyes, trust-me eyes, we-want-to-see-what-you’ve-got eyes.
Of course pigeons, wasn’t there pigeon poop all over the place? They landed on the ledge and gazed curiously into her lap. The words…they were after the words! Despite the gloom that gripped her, she laughed and carelessly slung self-hatred into the wind. One pigeon hopped and swooped and snapped up self-hatred like a juicy June bug, while another leaped and flapped in eager anticipation of another word release. Giggling with unexpected glee, she tossed regret, hopelessness, and heartache, and then flung fear as far as she could. By then pigeons were diving and darting everywhere, so she tossed the whole lot into the wind as she watched the wormiest twist and tumble, ignored by her feathered cohorts. It bounced once and barely bounced again when the fattest rat she’d ever seen seized despair and drug it off with decided determination.
By then the sun had come out and the wind wound up. Squinting, she lifted her face toward the warmth and decided it was worth it after all.