Let me explain.
It started out as a friendly conversation in a bar at the end of a long hike. The advantage I had over Lewis and Clark is that there were always bars at the end of my day.
She was taller than me. Dark hair. Ivory skin set off by ocean blue eyes. She got me talking about myself. She got me thinking about me and her and what we might do later. Never dawned on me that she would want something for our evening. I was too naive to figure that out. I was shocked that she would accept money for the deed. But that soon gave way to titillation at the thought of that body and that skin and those eyes . . . for a night.
Money was not a problem. Since I sold my business, I had been looking for new challenges. That is why I took up this walk and took a break from the family. And then took a wrong turn.
She was the first, but not the last. Every new town I stopped in, I looked up the locals. It was easy with wireless connection and a laptop to find beauty. It became intoxication. A natural high. I justified it to myself in that my wild oats had to be sown sometime and now was that time. No one would know.
And now I find myself traveling in an odyssey, tempted in every town. Waking when it suited me. But this morning something was different. Something pervaded my sleep.
I rolled out of bed. She had left sometime in the night - so it was not her. Naked I walked over to the window. There struggling beyond the pane was a black-capped chickadee. Its claw had become trapped in the metal runner upon which the sliding window glided open. I reached to open the window to set the bird free, but I stopped. It was tattered and worn. And it dawned on me at that moment that it would soon draw its last breath. I just stood there hand frozen to the clasp as it rhythmically, almost in a coital cadence, rattled against the window. The tapping on the window grew louder, then stopped altogether.