Bluebirds in the Cold
Uncle Chuck was an obstinate SOB. Gruff with salespeople, harsh to children. I remember one time he growled at a bus driver, a bus driver, mind you–you know how obnoxious they can be–he growled at that driver because the fellow skipped our stop. The man’s face turned scarlet; his hands transformed to white ice clutching the wheel. Honestly, the guy was so angry, I feared he’d plow the bus into a store front.
A visceral reaction was pretty much the norm when Uncle Chuck blasted his torrent of cuss words into people’s faces. With rocky blue eyes that could pulverize as sharply as his powerful diction, his gaze terrorized people. Except for when he looked at his wife, my Aunt Kathryn. Aunt Kay was a sparkling spirit, gifted with humor and love. When his blue eyes reached hers, they softened. I saw an elusive gentleness between them. Their eyes fluttered at one other like bluebirds, bluebirds at play.
On a frigid day in January, Aunt Kay passed on. Who knew lung cancer could snatch away loved ones with such speed and indifference. Gathering for the wake, the assembled mourners looked at each other with helpless expressions, a sea of tragic, Irish blue eyes. I was reminded of an article I read once of bluebirds who in subzero weather all gathered together in a hollow tree stump, snuggled, keeping each other warm, twenty or thirty of them all stuffed in tight, side by side. My mourning relatives reminded me of them and how we all needed to gather together like those birds with Uncle Chuck in the middle. But people don’t have as much sense as God’s creatures, do they? They freeze alone, like lost bluebirds in the cold.
Copyright 2008 JO Janoski
JO Janoski writes poems and short stories. Also, she has published
three books, all with a Pittsburgh (her home town) theme. Her
lifeblood is her regular posting on JO’s Blog