When Dad died, I talked to an ostrich.
In the waiting room, an ostrich sat down.
“Who let this ostrich in? ” I said.
The janitor stared at me.
The ostrich stared at me.
The surgeon walked into the room. He tore off his white mask and put on a serious one.
“You don’t even have to say it,” I said.
I put my head in my hands.
The ostrich put his wing around me.
“Shit,” I said.
We didn’t have the greatest relationship, Dad and I. We didn’t talk. He treated me like shit. I loved him. I realized that after.
When he got sick, I think we got closer. I walked closer to him, I sat closer. We still didn’t talk but . . .
Then he died.
I Could Really Use A Friend Right Now.
I Really Need Someone To Talk To.
I put a poster up. I mailed it to my friends.
No one got back to me.
One afternoon, there was a knock on the door.
I got out of bed. I got dressed.
I opened the door.
It was the ostrich.
He sat down on the sofa.
“I’ll make some tea,” I said.
“I don’t remember Dad ever playing with me. He was always too old. Even when he wasn’t. He loved me. He never said it. I said it a lot when I was a kid, but . . . I didn’t mean it. Not really.”
You can tell an ostrich anything.
“My bedroom was next to Dad’s. He had—he was a romantic guy. I heard him having sex, every time. I sometimes wonder if that screwed me up.”
The ostrich nodded. He was a great listener.
“Some more tea? ”
I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t open my eyes. I kept falling asleep. I kept dreaming.
I dreamed I was the last person on Earth. I felt so homesick. Even though I was home.
I crawled into bed—in my dream. I lay there.
Something touched my hair. Something tousled it, like . . . Dad.
I woke up.
I looked over.
There was something on the pillow, next to me.
An ostrich feather.
I looked out the window.
The sky was blue. I hadn’t noticed that. Not in a long, long time.
I made breakfast.
I swept the floor.
I opened the front door and closed it.
I heard something.
I ran back to the window.
I saw the shadow of the ostrich, on the lawn.
Just the shadow.
Then it was gone.