My mouth tastes of iron. My head aches. My eyes open slowly and the world is a blur. My face is wet. I wipe my mouth and stare at the bright red blood on my fingers. I smell gas and burnt rubber. I close my eyes and rest my head. I remember this morning. Bailey and I argued about what. A wave of nausea rises in my stomach. We fought over that bird. A crow, no two crows had built a nest in the massive half dead black walnut by our garage.
Every morning the male crow screamed at me when I left for work and every evening he screamed at me when I came home. First Bailey joked about the bird having a crush on me and he started quoting The Raven. Next when I told him I was afraid he tried to tell me about this nature documentary he’d watched that said crows were as smart as dogs and cats and could recognize faces and hold grudges.
This week the crow had taken to waiting for me to get out of my car and dive bombing my face. I had to run and cover my face. Last night the crow hit the back of my head and I fell in the driveway. I tore my tights and spilt Candace’s gift bag on the ground. This morning I told Bailey to be a man and do something about the goddamned bird and he told maybe if I didn’t drink so much I wouldn’t fall so often. I told him if he had a real job I wouldn’t want to drink. That was the beginning all the unsaid things being said. All of our hurts and fears raged out. I threw his jug, the big one, the one he had made for me on the floor. Before the pieces shattered I wanted to gather them all up and hold that jug tight and take back all the things. Bailey grabbed my arms to shake me. I felt myself lifted up . Then Bailey looked at my face, looked at his own hands, and walked away.
Wait that wasn’t this morning it was yesterday morning. Bailey packed an overnight bag and left yesterday morning. I went to my first showing with puffy eyes. This morning I woke up on the living room with an empty bottle of wine and half of our jug glued together. Bailey never came home, never called. I remember the Jensen property and my morning appointment with the Patels. Sam was going to have my ass if I was late again. I remember splashing water on my face and getting dressed at breakneck speed. I remember having a screwdriver eye opener and dashing for my car. I remember the crow. Squat and iridescent black, he landed on my hood. I honked. He cawed. I revved the engine and it walked back and forth with deliberate steps. I screamed and he slammed his beak into my windshield. I could see myself in his mirror black eyes. Hatred flowed between us. I accelerated forward and he flew up to his nest and mate and I reversed and he returned to my hood. I remember now we did this seven times. My eyes fly open. I am in my car in front of my house. The crow had landed at the end of my driveway. He had walked back and forth slowly. I had thrown my car into reverse and floored it. I had crashed into Mrs. Hall’s pickup backing out of her driveway across the street. Oh my god oh my god, I need to help her.
The sound of sirens fill the air as I open my car door. I look up. From his black walnut branch, the crow crooks his head, looks down, and caws.