A bird, a man, and a woman sit quietly in the room.
He looks at her and can't help it, can't help but hate the fold of her hands on her lap, the proper placement of her feet, crossed with delicacy at the ankles. He notices how the light shines down on her gold hair, curled tightly against her scalp, and her small hat, perched precariously on her head. The clock ticks. He's waiting to be called in. He's waiting for the bad news. He wishes he could get up and leave, but he ain't a coward, he ain't gonna run from what is essentially her fault. Real men don't run. He remembers his mother's voice, screaming at the front door and his father's turned back. Real men don't run.
She looks back at him and her eyes comb the messy slant of his collar and the darkness of his face, his unshaved jaw, the awkward angle of his construction boots. How did she wind up here? Her mamma taught her better, she knew better than to get tangled up in this kind of mess, but maybe it wasn't so bad, maybe God meant it to happen this way. She should have known that sleeping with a man before marriage would only yield one result. Her mamma had told her that, over and over, don't get yourself knocked up, baby, don't go riding in cars with boys, don't go sleepin' in anything but your own bed. Am I an accident? She had wanted to know, and her mamma had said, God don't make accidents, God don't make mistakes.
The door opens. A white coat. “Positive.”
The bird looks out the window. It's choking on the lady's perfume and the man's bad thoughts, and it wants to go out there, into the blue, into the pale world where it can fly. I wasn't meant for this, it keeps thinking. I've got two wings, that means something.