Sometimes, when we are hunting lovers, we catch a glimpse of that fluffy white tail and chase it down with tunnel vision and a slavering maw. We are so focused that we miss all the other quizzical prey standing around waiting to fill our mouths.
Sometimes we think we have felled the most beautiful and evasive buck, but then he manages to leap away unscathed while we are amazed to discover that we have accidentally shot ourself in the foot.
Sometimes, hunters tear through the forest on a warpath, picking off anything that stands in their way; but others lay waiting for years, only their eyes flickering back and forth trying to spot the perfect beast.
When I was hunting men, there were a lot of shots fired in the dark. I actually hit myself in the eye once and that was embarrassing because I was alone. I did, however, bring down a few candidates; most of them were not necessarily wrong, they were just not the most accurate. Like multiple choice. No matter how much I studied for a test, multiple choice questions left me second guessing myself until I ran out of time.
The Question that confused me the most during my years spent hunting was actually a simple true or false. And, in hindsight, I have come to realize that the universe was using fowl play to warn me that my pursuit was most assuredly false.
Marc was not the man for me. The birds told me so.
After walking around McGill campus in Montreal, pretending that I was a student, I found a quaint little outdoor café and settled in to write for a couple hours. At this point in my life I was heavily infatuated and Marc was the recipient of my poetic musings. How perfectly 19th Century and romantic.
I penned a few lines into my notebook…
It will take a lifetime
to fall from where he placed you in the sky,
hitting every pretty bird
on the way down.
And then, as I was furiously scribbling away, I felt something warm and moist slip in behind the collar of my shirt. Shocked, I realized that a bird with impeccable aim had managed to slip me a dirty one. I could feel the creamy poop running down my back as I made my way to the washroom. This was my first warning.
Marc and I were deeply immersed in conversation as we walked to a spoken word contest at The Drake. Suddenly a flying ball of feathers fell straight out of the sky and crash-landed onto my shoe. Looking closer, I discovered that this plumed comet was actually a dead baby bird. I looked above me and there was no ledge, no tree branch from which this creature fell – only open sky. Marc was killing himself laughing. I was thinking about irony and bad omens. If something dead came careening out of mid-air and landed on you, would you chalk it up to coincidence? This was my second warning.
Marc had invited me over for the weekend and I was doing what I did best: floating and over-analyzing. I was listening to The Killers as I drove to his house, taking their songs and turning them into ridiculous personal anecdotes.
Don’t give the ghost up just clench your fist
You should have known by now you were wrong (on my list)
When your heart is not able
And your prayers they’re not fables
Let me show you (let me show you)
Let me show you (let me show you)
Let me show you how much I care oh
Yes, embarrassingly, I was clenching my fist and belting out the lyrics, creating scenarios where we would discover our mutual desire for each other. Okay, who hasn’t, on occasion, created their own personal fictitious Harlequin daydreams? Don’t lie to me. I can’t be the only one. Right?
SMACK! A bird so large – that the interior of my car darkened momentarily – struck the perfect center of my windshield. After its broken carcass flopped over the roof, I noticed that the bird had left behind an exact open-winged outline of its body. I didn’t sing any more songs for the duration of the trip. This was my third warning.
Years later, I finally came to the realization that Marc was not the man for me. I would like to thank the birds for their better judgment. The other day I was driving again, not singing desperate love songs, but thinking about writing this story, when a gigantic hawk swooped down out of the sky and slaughtered a small rodent on the side of the road. Okay birds, I get it! My infatuation has been picked apart and masticated, digested and released. I do, however, still find birds to be creepy and eerily discerning, the perfect addition to any dramatic performance.
Like Hitchcock says,
Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.