A Murder of Crow

“It’s true I read it on the internet. Crows can recognize faces and even hold grudges. There was this study at the University of Washington where researchers wore masks to test crows’ facial recognition,” Maisie sputtered to a stop at the bemused look on her wife’s face.
Maisie tossed down her spoon into her oatmeal bowl. Jillian covered her grin with a mouthful of buttered toast. Maisie grabbed her bowl and stomped into the kitchen.
“Well if you’re not going to even listen.”
“I’m listening you hate living in a parsonage, you hate people dropping in, the neighbors are weird, there’s no good sushi, and now an evil raven screams at you and dives at your face. I heard you sweetie. The bird waits for you or something. Sweetie you gotta see —“
“Crow not a raven a crow,” Maisie said as she angrily grabbed her tote bag and purse.
“Right, a crow,” Jillian said drawing the words out slowly. Maisie slammed random cabinets. Grumbling rumbled from the kitchen into the breakfast nook. Jillian rubbed at her temples. “Hey sweetness, a group of crows is a murder so what’s one bird called grievous bodily harm?” Jillian’s joke bounced against the front door as Maisie slammed it.

Maisie ate her tomato and spinach eggs quietly. Jillian stole glances at her while pretending to study the Count Chocula cereal box. Jillian cracked first.
“Anything exciting today in the world of high school Social Studies?”
Silence.
“ I’m sorry about yesterday morning and the bird thing. I care I do. I was just trying to lighten the mood. The SPRC chair speaking of mood lighteners told me this ridiculous idea he had to attract ‘youngsters’ he actually said youngsters why not call us whippersnappers,” Jillian said. “He has no idea not a clue.” She laughed and started her story.
Maisie carried her plate to the sink. “Sometimes you fall in love with ideas instead of people,” Maisie mumbled as she washed her dish.
“So are we cool? You can handle the coffee hour this Sunday. Verna has sciatica. Wait sweetie what do say?”
With an armful of bags, Maisie threw open the front door and left the house. Jillian heard a scream a curse and then the squeal of tires.

Jillian didn’t know what woke her up. Morning light gushed into their bedroom windows. Last night was rough. They had argued about anything and everything well past midnight. Maisie slept on the sofa. She was being so unyielding so unlike the rock Jillian had always leaned upon. They just needed something. Maybe a weekend away or a nice dinner maybe after Annual Conference they could go to the shore.

Jillian stretched in their bed. She froze when she heard a caw. Jillian rushed to the window. Maisie’s car was just outside their driveway t-boned by a delivery truck. People had gathered. The car was flattened The air thicken as Jillian tried to take in what she saw. The caw shook her as a large black bird stood on her wife’s hood. Shimmery black, the crow marched in a triumphant circle in the smoky car carcass, cawing again and again almost like laughter.

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