Tonight, my mother is telling me about being a flight attendant, and I ask her about danger. “It was a couple years ago, the market had just been bombed and there were a few people killed, I’m not sure how many,” she says. “I can’t remember exactly, in the teens though. It was across the street from us and half the crew wanted to go to the market because they thought it was a safe place to go. It’s not like it’s going to get bombed again the very next day, right? The other half of the crew was like, ‘Let’s just stay in the hotel and not go anywhere’.
“In India, when we stay in Delhi, this man comes and checks underneath our taxi with a mirror and our bags get put through a scanner and we get put through a scanner, and every time we leave the hotel when we get back we have to go through this scanner and our bags have to go through this scanner, it’s like an airport but after the Bombay—sorry—Mumbai incident in 2008, that’s when all the terrorists came into Mumbai and bombed the cafés and took over the hotel. You remember that, don’t you?”
I put down my mug. “Parts of it.”
“They came in and they staged a siege on the city, and they killed hundreds of people and did lots of horrible things. Anyways, I didn’t go to the market in Jerusalem. The beach was nice though.”
There used to be so many birds I’d see outside the window at mom’s house. These two crows would sit atop the tallest branch and stare out into the distance. Every so often they would turn to each other, as if confiding in the same way I confide in my mother the details of my watching them. She told me she’d seen them too, that there was also a grey owl that sometimes visited the neighbouring trees and that these crows that seemed so still and majestic when alone would viciously nip at him until he flew away.
Some mornings I’d wake up to the sounds of a woodpecker working away at the orange stucco. If I woke up early enough, he was tired and inconsistent, pecking slower and sloppier than normal, as if drunk on the greyness of the morning. The council which made decisions for the housing complex eventually decided to cull these woodpeckers. They hired a cast of falcons for the job, although this was supposedly years before I lived there.