Birds fluttered ’round the gutters pecking at old leaves that had been left there seasons ago. The old man could hear them, not see them, but hear them. They were talking to each other as the evening sun glowed. Maybe they were talking about how hot it was. He listened closer; still couldn’t make out a word.
And, it was definitely talk. They weren’t singing. In the mornings they sang. Evening time they chatted. He wondered if it was two lovers out there? Two birds that had been with each other for years. He poured an iced tea, remembering his love. How they chatted in the evening and sang in the morning.
She used to wear these dresses that fit nicely ’round her hips. He loved taking her by the hand and walking through their neighborhood on the north side of town. They’d walk barefoot on the sand down by the lake; carrying shoes and sandals. The water would wash away the sand between their old toes. In the summer it felt nice. There was comfort in the water. The same way birds brought comfort to him now.
He lit a cigarette and took a drag. Had another sip of tea. The sun was going down and the birds were no longer heard. Perhaps he would go to the beach the next day as soon as he got up. As soon as the birds began singing.