Rooftop Reconciliation

The East Village is quiet, dead quiet, apocalypse quiet. It’s one of those days between Christmas and the new year when the neighborhood is evacuated of colonizers. There are no cars driving on the streets, no people walking on the sidewalks, or any signs of life.

I make a breakfast of three eggs over easy on two-year-old wheat bread I find in the freezer. The eggs mask the frostbitten crusts, but it’s not a meal I want to repeat. I open the kitchen window and toss three handfuls of sliced bread several flights down where they land softly on a rooftop covered with a light dusting of snow. I stare down at the miniature honey colored slices which stand out warmly on an otherwise black and white city scene and wait for the pigeons to notice.

Pigeons, though highly intelligent birds, have always grossed me out because I often see them eating garbage in the gutters and drinking from gasoline tainted puddles. I despairingly refer to pigeons as Mother Nature’s lepers but I’m reconciling my feelings towards them. I’ve come to realize that, sometimes, out of necessity, we all must make the best of less than ideal situations at the risk of incurring the judgment of those more fortunate. Now, I wait for them to enjoy a healthy meal on the white rooftop of a fancy restaurant.

A snow storm moves across the city. The slices of bread slowly fade away under a blanket of white and I leave my post disappointed. The next morning I go into my kitchen to refill my coffee cup and my sudden presence spooks a pigeon perched on the windowsill. I smile and go to the window to see if they’ve discovered their feast. One by one, a group of pigeons circle the rooftop before descending upon the slices of bread. All in total seven pigeons come to peck the bread to pieces, leaving only the crusts, before flying back to wherever they came. The pigeons made my day.

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