Red-Winged Blackbirds

And they understood each other. Perhaps that was the most important thing. She thought about it now, of walking to the cafe, of ordering an espresso lined with an ivory foam; she thought of sitting for hours, devouring some novel where the characters glide so effortlessly through life on glamorous adventures and there was a steady well-spring of action.

But no, the red-winged blackbirds would dart down from their trees in the park and bludgeon her (they always bludgeoned her). Perhaps though, if she went with Adrienne? They could drive about the bridge and take in the day, and she could smile for a few hours and pretend… It might be nice to pretend for a while, she thought. It might be nice just to pretend that she was interested in the world outside her mind. And Adrienne was so lively and talkative, and did not desire to go deeply within herself. She often chided Delia for being so introspective. But Delia was most comfortable there, dwelling within the ocean of her own mind, and Joe understood that, Joe always understood that.

Today she desired such introspection, and dreamt she’d find it floating at the bottom of a coffee mug. She wanted to be alone, but not isolated. She liked being present in a room with Joe, as she never felt the unsatisfying urge to accentuate herself to his delicate political and religious ideas, like she did with Adrienne.

There was nothing wrong with believing in God, it was merely that Delia could not find it in her heart to do it, and so her mother and father watched anxiously as she, “devolved into sin”. She was sure they imagined her dying young, her burial on some misty day where everything was bathed in pewter light and gauzy fog, and some dirge bellowing out in the distance… an old Irish folk tune.

Adrienne believed in God. Adrienne was the daughter Delia’s parents wished they had: a missionary, an otherwise clean soul, and she shared their political ideology, and so she was good and sweet. What, perhaps, would be even stranger is if Adrienne was a doppelgänger of Delia, but her long copper hair and hooked nose had seen to it that the girls looked nothing alike.

And what did Adrienne think of Delia carrying on with Joe? At one time, she had cheered for them, cheered that their circumstances would dissolve away and they’d receive their fairy tale ending, but one day it all stopped. Few people understood the full effect Joe had on Delia. Few people grasped how he understood her, often times, without Delia needing to say a word (how cliche that idiom was), and how Joe was constant…

It had to be said that Delia was mercurial (as mercurial as red-winged blackbird) often sliding between moods, or being mysteriously reticent. Joe (unlike Adrienne) knew Delia put on a face for people, transmuting her gloom to glee, but Joe always pushed the mask aside and made everything in her blossom and flood. Her bone marrow always sang a sweet song when he touched her, even if the manner in which he touched her (passing the salt at dinner, handing her a note) was banal and mundane.

Delia listened as a car rushed up the street (much too fast) and her dog snored in gentle, snarling rhythms on the porch. An inexorable restlessness stirred within Delia, prying her outside. The weather was cool and gentle, and her desire to meander through the park increased with fervor.

She could not call Joe, his wife saw to that, and she did not wish to see Adrienne (Delia reached for her shoes, slipping them on). There was little else to do but wander to the cafe, to consume the drink, to remain suspended in a work of fiction for a few hours. There was nothing else to do but to not demand herself to be anything else other than she was.

 

 Featured image via Vlad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Abigail Sheaffer

Abigail is the Editor-in-Chief of Chicago Literati.

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