Hope – Salvatore Difalco [Fiction]

Drawn by peculiar smells and sounds, a robin lit upon the sill of a half-open window. The window looked in on the shadowy kitchen—decor nondescript, appliances dated— of a second-floor east end walk up. The robin observed a naked man on a chair in the middle of the kitchen, arms wrapped around himself, torso rocking back and forth. The robin watched him for several minutes. The man rocked back and forth so violently, the robin could not make out his facial features. He was repeating a phrase:

“I know, I know, I know, I know . . .”

The robin listened intently and tried to make sense of the man’s rocking, but when it heard the harsh squawk of a nearby blue jay, it flitted off the sill and flew to its nest, located in one of maple trees lining the courtyard of the building. When the way was clear the robin returned to the windowsill.

“I know, I know, I know, I know . . .”

Hector Gomes, 35, the man in question, had been going like this for almost an hour. The purpose or rather the trigger of the rocking and repetition of the phrase “I know” cannot be known. We can never know the experience of the other, we can only know their behaviour. The only thing to be stated with absolute certainty is that everything lives under the constant threat of annihilation. Some respond better than others to this threat.

There was a rent in Hector’s relation with his world and a disruption of his relation with himself. He felt on the fringe of being, with only one foot in life and perhaps no right even to that. He felt that he was not really alive and of no value to anyone.

When Hector stopped rocking and talking, he sat up straight in his chair. His hair looked electrified, his body glistened with sweat. He held his clenched fists to his face and bared his teeth. Life is pain, the robin thought. Life betrays our true potentialities.

But the robin was no psychologist.

“Then why are you here?” Hector asked.

“I am the augur of spring,” the robin stated. “I bring you a worm for your troubles.”

The robin hopped onto the kitchen counter and bent its head down. It regurgitated a half-digested worm.

“Friendly of you,” Hector said.

“Where there are worms there’s hope,” the robin stated before fluttering off.

By Salvatore Difalco

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s