Bird Calling (A short Story)

I immersed my shoulders into my duvet and whined, “They aren’t coming. Can’t we just…”

“Sshh! Stop whining,”

Dave looked back at me and smiled as he set up his camera. He was fiddling with the tripod, pulling a face so full of concentration he looked as if he was disposing a bomb.

“We’ve been out here all night,” I whined on.

“Then fifteen more minutes won’t hurt.”

To stifle my protests, he kissed my forehead; his lips felt hot against my freezing skin. He pulled the duvet further up my shoulders and onto my face, in a bid to protect my cheeks from the unforgiving wind.

Fifteen minutes passed and we were still outside. I was too tired to stand anymore and had collapsed on a soggy deck chair abandoned from the summer. The only light for miles was that of the kitchen light bulb, it shone through the window, across the decking and silhouetted Dave’s body as he stood by the fence looking up at the sky. The night was clear and the vast sky was peppered with what seemed to like a thousand-no, a million stars. It seemed crazy that an hour before, I had never seen as shooting star, but as I sat on the wind battered chair, I had seen twenty.

“Oh my God!” I screeched an hour previously, “I saw a shooting star! There’s another…Dave! look, look!”

Dave chuckled at me, “I’m hoping we are going to see more than that tonight.” Then noticing a slight shiver in my hand he tentatively asked,  “You’re cold, want me to get some extra blankets, maybe the duvet?”

“No,” I said bravely, “I’m good with just my coat.”

Within ten minutes I had three blankets, the duvet wrapped around me and was gulping down a hot chocolate. I had never been so cold.

The cold damp from the deck chair had fought its way passed the blankets and onto my rear. When I finally determined that my butt was wet and not cold, I sprang up and crept across the decking to jump on Dave. He didn’t hear me coming and when I pounced he broke wind in alarm.

My husband’s flatulence has always sounded similar to that of a dying animal, letting out its last groan from its battered body. But this particular buttock breakage was released into the quietest night I have ever known. With no buildings, billboards or cars to soak up the noise, the low grumbling music of his bowels carried for miles; within seconds of its release, from the darkness of the night we heard,

“HONK! HONK! HONK!”

“Is that,” I laughed hysterically, “is that Geese? Oh god it is. It’s Geese! Babe, do it again.”

Dave let another rip. We waited.

“HONK! HONK! HONK!”

Beside ourselves with infantile laughter, we threw our frozen bodies onto the decking and rolled around in hysteria.

Dave’s bowels called to the Geese again and again they responded,

“HONK! HONK! HONK!”

My husband, the great bird caller!

As my hot, happy tears flurried down my frost-bitten cheeks, I rolled onto my back and glanced at the night sky and for a second I forgot to breath. The glance transformed into a gaze. I tried to speak but my voice was imprisoned in my chest, held to ransom by my heart that had forgotten how to beat.

The peppery sky was illuminated by a stretch of milky, green light that appeared to be carried by the wind. The green light spiralled like an attention hungry dancer, contorting its body for the approval of my eyes. I inhaled a greedy gasp of air, as the entire sky was flooded with the most radiant, atmospheric beauty.

The Geese fell quiet.

I held Dave’s hand, stood up and pointed to the sky like a toddler pointing towards park swings. I stared at him as his eyes encapsulated the green aura and imbedded it into his memory. He stole his eyes back from the hungry, celestial dancers to look down at my overjoyed face and whisper,

“See, they’re here.”

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