… because the bird perched on the roof, and I couldn’t stop seeing it and staring at it.

Because I look at the bird and I think about several stories about birds:

a. that birds are lucky they can fly

b. hat birds inspired men to create airplanes

c. that birds are a symbol for balance, how their wings work so perfectly together

d. how their song is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world along with a baby’s laughter and a church bell on a weekend morning

e. that my son would call birds from the sky when he was a baby. Rebecca holding him, telling him to call the birds, “come bird, come”. And my son would reach up his tiny hand to the sky and call “bâda, come bâda”. And we smiled every single time and he really thought he could call them, and I wonder if he ever wondered why they never came to him.

f. because birds fly and my kids asked me why we can’t fly. And when they saw cartoons that could fly, they believed they could too and tried desperately to wave their arms up and down, and then asked me to build them propulsors to make them fly, which brought so many moments of fun with plastic bottles, tape, and colorful paper ribbons – orange and yellow, to imitate the ignition fire.

We tell stories because a friend has Alzheimer’s, and we are losing him. It’s a euphemism for “we already lost him.” He’s not there anymore, not really, just something else remains for which we can find no name.

We write stories to remember that the difficult times may be the ones that unite us the most – us, husband and wife, more together than ever in supporting a woman who’s seeing her husband drift away.

Because two days ago that woman went by a church and cried, and the Uber driver asked if she wanted her to stop the car so that she could take pictures or get some air, and her friend comforted her, telling her it was good to cry, that she was letting things out. Later, I learned that she met her husband around that church area many years ago. And she found herself thinking how and who he was back then and what he’s transformed into so quickly. Where did time go? What did time do? In the past couple of years we’ve seen him disappear. This morning he woke up, asked for 20 Euros and left to the café, where he waited for a contractor of his imagination. Then he wanted the divorce, again, and his wife took him to see a lawyer, then to a doctor’s appointment, then home, where he drank 4 glasses of wine, finding a bottle that was hidden and then opening another that his wife didn’t even know existed. Then he insulted her, as it’s usual these days. She was exhausted by the end of the day, and she called us, half in tears. She told us this story.

We write stories because that’s all we can do. To put ourselves on paper and hope our stories make sense to those who read them. Hoping that someone will understand us and reach out and say “hey, I get you, I really do, yes, of course, me too…”.

                                                                                                                        Published 2/9/22
                                                                              Inspired by Lisel Mueller’s poem Why we tell stories