Marilyn Ackerman
and KJ Hannah Greenberg

Marilyn Ackerman

One-Eyed, Long-Nosed, Espying Rooftop Pigeon Eater
By KJ Hannah Greenberg
Inspiration piece

As soon as Harriet entered the building, she headed to the seventh floor. There, on the rooftop, was the pigeons’ nest.

The last time that she had climbed so high in the complex, she had thought that Jarad was going to propose to her. Then, rather than sit on one of the provided benches, she had placed herself on the floor, near the raised beds of tomatoes, peppers, and squash.

He had spotted her and had sat nearby. Yet, his posture had been curious; there had been no kneeling on a single leg. What’s more, there had been no tiny box filled with a precious ring.
Instead, Jarad had looked directly at Harriet and had told her that he was breaking off their affiliation.

Thereafter, he had fled.

For a short span, Harriet had stared at the door through which he had left. Her lover had given her neither reason nor rationale for the destruction of their union. At least, he hadn’t lied about the whats and wherefores.

It wasn’t so much that Harriet had become unhinged by the mysterious woman’s voice on their answering machine. Neither had she become unsettled by the large withdrawals that Jarad had “surreptitiously” made from their shared bank account.

However, it had been the headhunter Email that Harriet had seen on Jarad’s laptop when a stomach ailment had made him bolt for the bathroom before deleting his screen. The job referenced was in Asia.

Harriet’s mother had never liked Jarad. She had complained all along about things like gaslighting and forced isolation. Harriet had ignored her, telling herself that if not for Jarad, she would never have sought therapy and would have remained in dysfunctional friendships.

On balance, her therapist, too, had pointed out the gaslighting. Meanwhile, Harriet’s former friends had remained loyal. First, they had reconnected with Harriet on social media and, thereafter, they had reconnected in person. Although Jarad had honked a lot about those reestablished associations, given her therapist’s help, Harriet began to reengage in them.

Anyway, after her would-be plighted man had run away, she had stayed on that rooftop. One benefit of her apartment was her access to that outdoor space. The umbrellas and waterproof lighting were nice, but the gardens and the urban wildlife that was attracted by the gardens were nicer. Harriet had espied all manner of birds, some squirrels, a snake (!) and a handful of lizards on that roof.

That fateful day when Jarad had broken up with her, she had also seen the pigeons’ nest. Peaking beneath the belly of a morning dove had been two eggs.

Now, four weeks later (she hadn’t dared to revisit the location earlier since even envisioning such a visit had brought tears), she again had climbed onto the roof. Curiosity had overcome grief.

Whereas the young nestlings were not yet able to fly, they were practicing flapping. Their down was mostly gone, replaced by adult feathers. Their life seemed to be proceeding according to expectations.

Harriet sighed and then took pictures of those young with her cellphone. After the crumbling of her and Jarad’s partnership, when Harriet had returned to their apartment, she had apprehended that not only had Jarad removed his things, but that he had, likewise, taken her computer, her favorite paring knife, her tiny bottle of expensive perfume, and her car keys.

Fortunately, after Jarad was arrested at the airport, her belongings, including her car, had been returned to her. Further, the officer who had knocked on her door had been welcomed eye candy.

Additionally, Harriet had been able to collect funds from Jarad’s hidden bank account. It was useful that her sister was married to a skilled lawyer for whom cat and mouse games were a main source of income.

At any rate, what Harriet wanted most was quiet and normalcy. At least, on the rooftop, where a neighbor was growing honeysuckle and another was farming roses, there was a semblance of peace. Plus, there were baby birds! So, before she felt emotionally well enough to return to work, but after she had recouped her fiduciary losses and then some, Harriet had returned to the roof.

Given pigeons’ predilection for nesting high, often beyond the reach or sight of humans, the nest had been a surprise. Harriet had never seen eggs nor hatchlings, except on the Internet. It was encouraging that something was healthfully moving toward the future. That is, had been moving toward the future.

As soon as Harriet had opened the door to the roof deck, Cyclops, a one-eyed rescue that lived on the floor below her apartment, came charging through. The canine had no ability to read the displayed signs that stated pets weren’t allowed in urban paradise.

After marking various raised beds, he ran toward the rail housing the nest. In a single, quick gobble, he consumed both fledglings.

Harriet screamed.

Cyclops circled back and then ran into the entrance through which he had emerged.

Following that incident, Harriet’s recovery took weeks. She recuperated at her sister’s home. Whereas her family knew about her relationship plight, she hadn’t told them nor anyone else about the rooftop carnage. All that was known was that Harriet had been found unconscious under the dahlias and had been sunburned, to boot.

A few weeks later, Harriet again returned to her abode. In the interim, Cyclopes had died from a bacterial infection that was likely traceable to the fledglings. As for the birds’ parents, they built no additional nests on that roof.

Note: All of the art, writing, and music on this site belongs to the person who created it. Copying or republishing anything you see here without express and written permission from the author or artist is strictly prohibited.