Courtyard by Hotel

She stood up and rearranged herself–her slacks, her jacket, her bags and her bones, including all her vertebrae from where she was just perched and up through the base of her neck. She shook out her legs to straighten her knees. She snapped up the front of her vest then yanked the bottoms of her pants. She wanted them to meet the top of her sandals. She was together now.

She was done with her squagle. That’s what they called the bagel-like fare from the corner shop. It was square and had a hole in the middle. She was full after eating a quarter of it. The pigeons nearby eyed the rest. These were very fat pigeons. They were not hungry as much as they were greedy. They made some pigeon sounds and slowly strutted in front of her. The better to catch her attention.

She began to tear her roll into chunks. She tossed the chunks on the bricked patio. Then she wished she could take them back. They were so jagged and ripped. And big. Too big. She wished she had taken the time to more cleanly tear them, and to tear them into smaller, more accessible pieces for the birds.

She reached into one of her bags for another squagle. She carefully tore it in half. She was very deliberate this time. She eyed the middle and split it from the top. She placed one half in the bag to her left. She kept it at the top because she expected to return to it soon.

She looked at the bread in her hand. She pinched off the corner, then picked at it and picked at it until her lap was full of small pieces of bread. She picked a piece up and tried to make it smaller. It was still too big. She frenetically pinched at the edges, trying to make the bread into the specs of flour that it came from. She needed them to be smaller. The birds strutted closer and then flapped their wings, slightly alarmed, as her motions became wilder.

Her head shot up and down like a piston to some internal metronome as her hands plucked at the bread in a frenzy. Sweat beaded at her temples. She reached to unsnap her vest when a gust of wind scattered the tiny crumbs from her dark lap in a swirl. But the pieces were too small for the birds, there was really nothing left.


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