Song & Story
By: Gem Bordages
The early morning mist underlined the promised heat of the day.The one-eyed seagull regarded me, wondering what I had done with her breakfast. I reached for the bag of stale bread, lingering, tantalizing her. I owed her nothing. She had come to take me and my delicacies for granted; an attitude I resented.
I had loved her once. We had frolicked in the sand and surf, eating cold, raw fish and drinking salty, warm blood. When I confessed my passion, she had laughed, and spurned me with a violence from which I have never recovered. Now she was my enemy whom I nourished to nourish my hate. A war ensued, with daily battles upon which I depended to fuel my inverted emotion, and there was early-morning wine to sustain me.
Some day I would claim her other eye.
I maneuvered down the steps of my beach-front house, clasping the bag in my left hand and the flagon of wine in my right. The house sits on thickset stilts, defying wind and flood. It hates the one-eyed seagull almost as much as I.
With trepidation, I wended my way into the miasmic morning, through the richly-hued oleander bushes and onto the sodden sand. The oleander bushes cheered me on, while the Gulf of Mexico sang a battle hymn, anxious to witness the fray once again. The gulf doesn't like me, but sides with the seagull. The house and the oleander bushes are my only comrades. I transferred the wine to the hand that held the sack of musty sustenance and girded my loins.
"Here! Take and eat!" I cried, and began flinging bits of stale bread into the saline ether, accenting my action with a quaff of succor.
"I will!" the seagull exclaimed confidently, as she dove groundward, deftly snatching a white scrap in midair, then settling on the sand to devour the fallen bits she had been too slow to capture against the rheumy sky.
Her allies arrived; a great alabaster and ebony swarm that emerged from the mist to aid their own. Madly, I reached into the bag and pinched off sections of the moldy slices, tossing them ever closer to my person, taking long pulls at my bottle as I did. They feared me not; I feared them greatly, but persisted, hopeful that one day I would prevail.
I forced a laugh of defiance; a great, roaring laugh, but they were not deceived.
Soon, my bare feet were surrounded by bits of stale bread and feathered wings beating ... beating; acicular beaks pecking ... pecking. They ate with the greedy gusto symptomatic of their class, and rewarded my proffering by endowing me with bleeding toes and nitrateous missiles upon my head and clothes.
Still I persisted, furiously casting my munitions into the zephyr and watching the singular orb of my singular foe. Once again I tried desperately to seize her and, once again, I failed. I wept and tried again, only to fail again. My antagonists continued their assault upon my head, clothes and feet unabated.
When all the viands were spent and the bottle emptied, I began my retreat to my porch with crimson toes and lips, snowy-dank clothes and hair and wetted eyes; downtrodden in my vanquishment. The sand did not notice the added dampness that leached from my feet and face; nor did it care, having remained neutral during these recurring hostilities. As the oleanders and the house tried to comfort me, the opposing army raucously berated me for a time, then decamped and flew away to rest and refresh themselves. They would be ready for tomorrow's sanguinary engagement.
Only the one-eyed seagull remained, and while the Gulf of Mexico sang a victory song, she cast her iniquitous, asymmetrical gaze upon me and gloated.
Gem Bordages is a semi-retired journalist living on Galveston Island, Texas with daughter Claire, who is Down's Syndrome, and foster son James who has mild cerebral palsy. The three of them enjoy the beach,library, movies, and telling stories. Gem states she relies heavily on the nurturing care she receives from Claire and James, and could not make it in this cold, cruel world without them.
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