The bouncing melody lulled me into a kind of half sleep. A sort of strange half reality state where my lucidity slipped and I was lost in an all encompassing thought about the difference between wearing and not wearing shoes.
I woke up with a start, thinking I heard something outside. I got up from the couch and walked over towards the open window. The record player was still playing. It could have been the same song or another, they all had blurred together in my half sleep state.
As I got closer to the window I noticed a bird perched on the sill. It was backlit by the late afternoon sun glowing on the cream colored buildings across the street. It was beautiful, a warm tan color with black wings. It was an ibis, I think. It honked in an odd way I’d never quite heard before.
It seemed to inspect me as I moved towards it, but it didn’t flinch or seemed threatened by my presence. With each step I anticipated the whoosh of wings. I wondered what I would do if it took flight into the apartment, as opposed to back to the firmament from which it descended.
I came within an arm’s reach and it still seemed fixed. It moved its head to keep its left eye fixed on me, and it bent down to peck at the wooden frame, but was otherwise unmoved, or perhaps uninterested in my existence.
I stood shoulder to wing with the ibis and looked out at the street. The shops seemed to be doing a lazy trade, caught in the doldrums between the lunch time and after work tempests. The ibis’s gaze seemed to follow mine as I inspected the street’s entire length, and it seemed to likewise have little to no interest in the affairs of man.
It was larger than most bird’s I could remember, and it was far larger than any bird I’d ever had in my close proximity. It tilted it’s head left and right every few seconds, but smoother than a chicken would. It shifted its weight and took a few small steps in a circle.
The thought crossed my mind that I could grab this bird. I’m not sure what I would do with it, and I’m sure it would freak the fuck out. Pretty sure if you are going to be holding a pissed, thrashing ibis, it’s best to go into the situation with a clear goal and a solid plan of action.
I decided against it and decided to let the bird make the first move. Down the street a car honked and we both looked, then looked at each other as if looking for some explanation from our counterpart.
I laughed and the bird squawked in a way that I thought sounded like a laugh. I was amazed that it seemed to respond to me, though it could have just been startled by the noise I was making. On the record player a new song began with a strong guitar solo. The ibis looked inside and held the spinning 45 in its gaze. When the vocals began it looked at me, and held my countenance in its black eyes, unblinking, as the singer crooned.
After a few moments it honked and spread its wings. I stood back, giving it the whole window to spread out. It looked over at me one more time, then bent its legs and with a fluid motion jumped forward and flapped its wings. It caught the wind, banked hard down the street, dropped down a few floors to gain momentum, then pulled up, flapped hard, and soared off above the city.
Below the song played on, and I tried to understand what the fuck just happened.