I can’t stop thinking about Brussels sprouts, of all things. But let me tell you, mystery can spring from the unlikeliest of sources. Brussels sprouts! Last week I pulled into the drive and I dropped my keys, right after pulling them out of the ignition. You know how you sometimes fumble with everyday objects, and then feel like an idiot? One minute you have ahold of your keys, and the next your fingers do a number on you and you drop – no, fling! – for no reason at all I flung my keys over the center console and they dropped down between the console and the passenger seat, sank into that no man’s land that can’t be reached unless you get out of your car and come around from behind. These minor events are so frustrating, when they happen, these small irritations that interrupt the flow of life for just no reason at all. So I get out of the car and go around to the other side and open up the rear passenger door and peer down beneath the front passenger seat and there are my sunken keys. I reach to grab them and felt some sort of unexpected netting. I pulled on the netting and out came one of those bags of Brussels sprouts. And it frightened me. Because they were old. That bag had been there a good while. The sprouts were completely desiccated, like a bag of little shrunken heads. But I was startled too because I can’t tell you the last time I bought Brussels sprouts. Much less a time that I would have bought them, lost them in my car, and then forgotten all about them. I mean, have I lost my mind?
In addition to Brussels sprouts, I’ve been giving some thought to the last time I saw Jonah. We ran into each other downtown last April. I had been shopping for a particular kind of pantyhose. I know nobody wears pantyhose anymore or even calls them that – now they’re hosiery, or tights. But I like this one particular style and color and these days only Weiss Drugstore downtown carries them. And as I walked back to my car there was Jonah, pulling his recumbent bicycle into the parking spot next to mine. Always so healthy! He’d never take a car anywhere he could bike to. We hugged and he told me he liked my galoshes. We’d just had a week of heavy rains and I wore my red rubber boots. I love those boots and I’d wear them more often if I could get away with it but they make quite a statement so I only wear them when there’s a practical excuse. I was pleased that he had noticed them. And as we stared down at my boots we heard a crackling. We looked up and there in one of the grand trees that line Palmer Avenue a bird’s nest crumbled, just disintegrated, from all the rains I suppose, before our very eyes. In the upper branches stood a somewhat startled bird balancing on what bits and pieces remained of its nest while the rest of it fell down through the tree limbs in clumps. A particle landed on my lower lip, like a flake of tobacco. I started to cry. Jonah said, “Don’t worry, he’ll make a new home.” And he’s right, we all do.
Story by Rebecca Beegle
Photo by Eylül Aslan