whisper song blue jay
Photo by Janet on Adobe Stock

Miss Donna’s laugh has the unconscious sincerity that makes your throat catch and your stomach sink, like she’s just confessed something deeply personal.

I picture her as a robust lady with broad shoulders and strong workers’ arms. She’s got leathery skin and prominent discoloration from years of marinating in the Florida heat. Her dimples are canyons on either side of her crescent smile lines, denoting a deep-seated playfulness. Her white hair is waist length, as it has been since her youth, but yarny and constantly pinned to her scalp in a frenzied rush. She strictly wears knee-length sundresses; the ones that resemble pastel dinette tablecloths. From the phlegmy raspiness of her voice, she’s evidently smoked a pack a day for at least forty years, so I imagine her with a cigarette in hand at all times, seated on a lawn chair, gesturing wildly with her cancerous appendage.

She often goes on tangents about affectionately rearing the “kiddos” that her Oxycontin-addicted daughter has discarded to this world (Bless her poor, demented heart, Miss Donna says). I liken her to the Florida scrub jay or the Mexican jay: these corvids partake in the act of “helping,” much like Miss Donna, by aiding fellow flock members in protecting and nourishing the nestlings. Jays have developed this pattern as a form of species preservation, whereas most humans have abandoned such a tribe mentality. I believe Miss Donna is driven by an incurable inner warmth–one lost on the majority. But at least she won’t die alone. This brings me peace.

Try turning your monitor off, wait thirty seconds, then power it back on, ma’am, I say into my headpiece.

Oh, Vellie, my sweet duck–what would I do without you!

I cherish her responses.

We exchange some witty remarks, her computer powers back on without its prior glitches, and I clock out of my ElectronTech portal for the day. I’m sure I’ll hear from Miss Donna sometime again in the upcoming workweek–she’s what the tech team refers to as a “glitchy Garry,” or a service regular. Personally, I’d call her a friend.


The morning fog absorbs the Douglas Firs and Western Hemlocks like a greedy succubus, leaving dew-dropped ferns in her wake. In this obscured, dusty lighting, the moss resembles tendrils of matted curls, thriving without the pressure to remain kept. This is the best time of the day. This is when the shook shook shook of the Steller’s jay is at its loudest. I wish I could eat that sound and carry it inside me.

That’s why I came to Olympic National Park in the first place–to observe the Steller’s and the Gray jays. I meant to write a thesis on their social and communal patterns. But in documenting my research, I felt that I could in no way capture their essence without offending their mystique. My words seemed so literal against their existence. Without ever consciously deciding to quit this project, I became an all-season groundskeeper at the campground nearest to the Hoh Rainforest. Now I’m more focused on bathing in the jays’ plentitude than on capturing their truth.

Though my accommodations are more or less all-inclusive and my financial necessities are minimal, I took the tech support job so as not to detach from reality. In-person interaction has never come easily to me. I stumble upon campers semifrequently at the site, some of whom are chatty Cathies, brutal in their attempts to connect. For the most part, though, I steer clear of others and tend to the maintenance and birdwatching. The work calls don’t expose me in the same way. I know my role and I have a script. With regulars, like Miss Donna, I can warm up to them and let my guard down at my own pace. Since they can’t see me, they don’t care how much eye contact I’m making or what I’m doing with my hands.

In this way, I’m much like a crow. Although all corvids are capable of mimicking the sounds of other species, the crow is the most skilled, due to its impressive syringeal muscles. When on a call, I often mirror the tone and the speech patterns of the client to put them more at ease, and perhaps also, to make it easier on myself.

What’s your name, again? Herbert grunts into the mic.

Valentin, sir.

Va-layn-teen What?

Valentin Andreivich.

You a Ruski?

No, I chuckle politely, only my father. Mother’s Kansan.

Good man–thanks. He hangs up.

Herbert’s not my favorite regular, but he’s fine. Says the dumbest shit but never intends malice, as far as I can tell. Based on our interactions, I am left with the impression that he emerged from the womb howling God bless America and sporting an anti-immigration pin. When I see him in my head, I imagine Herbert’s hairline began to recede significantly in his early thirties, before which he was bordering on handsome. He speaks with the conviction of someone who once piqued people’s interest through charm but eventually lost hold of this privilege. He compensates by uttering the absurd. Shock value. The loss of his hair was piggybacked by the growth of his gut, only escalating the ego damage. Beyond this, I believe he likes to sport a plain white wife beater underneath a plaid, short-sleeved button-down, the white undershirt substantially peeking through. All of this is tucked into a two-size, too-large pair of Wrangler blue jeans.

His inability to grasp concepts that contradict his own upbringing and small-town mores is an affliction that is almost primal, really. To conform is to survive. Even neighboring species of jay will comply and harmonize with one another in overlapping territories, as it ensures protection. So, Herbert cannot be blamed, despite his inflexibility.

It used to make me sad when people didn’t try to understand me, or any aspect of my existence that was foreign to them. Mainly because I felt I was putting so much energy into trying to understand them. But then again, people don’t generally try too hard to understand themselves, either.

The trick is, I’ve found, to find your “lens.” I borrowed this trick from my mother’s college anthropology textbook, which taught me that anthropologists use theoretical frameworks to make sense of others. My framework, or lens, became corvids almost intuitively. My father was an avid birdwatcher, and on our overlapping weekends, he’d wake me early in the morning–crusty-eyed and chapped from the overnight frost–and we’d silently observe the magpies tugging at each other’s feathers and playing dead. On other occasions, when we were lucky, we’d bear witness to the Blue Jay’s guttural clicking, broken up by a high-pitched squawk. These performances are referred to as a “whisper song” and are a product of jay courtship. To break our beloved silence, and only once the birds ceased their monologues, my father would repeat a single saying– “самая громкая проповедь в шёпотом.”

The loudest message is in the whisper.


On rare occasions when I have neither grounds chores to tend to nor calls to answer, I take to the woods SPF 50 generously lathered, three handfuls of lightly salted, ziplocked peanuts pocketed, and binoculars in hand. I generally traverse one of three trails with direct access from the campground. Today, I opt for the trail that is moderate: five miles in length with relatively few inclines.

The foliage and mosses canopy me in a saturated green hue, making me feel like a cyanobacterium, plentiful in chlorophyll, photosynthesizing efficiently. Realistically, between the cumulus clouds, the old-growth trees, and my thick layer of mineral sunscreen, there are very few UV rays penetrating my skin. Regardless, I enjoy visualizing myself as this organic microbe. It soothes me to feel enmeshed in my surroundings, not foreign at all.

What people find especially striking when visiting the Hoh Rainforest, or Olympic National Park more generally, is the silence. There is no air tourism, and very few roads disturb the park’s landscape, so there is a uniquely eerie quality to the concentrated, damp atmosphere permeating the forest. Loneliness here is immersive.

This loneliness is not always solace to me, though I appreciate it endlessly in its consistency. I sometimes find myself evaporating in these moments; my body a freight train and my beliefs, thoughts, and memories merely excess steam being released from the cylinder drains. Connections are necessary for mental stability, I’ve learned. This is why I like to visualize my ElectronTech regulars, give them faces and personal styles and quirky little mannerisms. This imagery keeps me grounded.

My favorite regular is Ivory. Much like the jays, I have trouble capturing her truth. Perhaps I’d just rather not–I’d hate to trap her–but she is my favorite subject to ponder (after the corvids, of course). Because of this, I give her many truths–always picturing something different when I envision her. Sometimes, she is freckled with auburn eyes and wildly tousled, raven hair. Other times, I see her with bleach-damaged, bobbed hair and a marvelous tooth gap. Every version of her is as stunning and deceptive as the next. Mainly, I just know she likes to collect bones in the desert. Sometimes she paints them, and sometimes she paints on them, but she never throws a single finding away. She understands the concept of treasure.

I never had a lot of crushes growing up. I decided early on that romance was not realistic for me. The kids in school seemed unnerved by my speech patterns and bored by my interests–their interests I never understood, either. I often spent my time at recess digging for worms and sketching the veiny, fallen leaves. The intricacies of nature compelled me from a young age. I kept my distance from the other children, only interacting when necessary, but continuing to observe and listen to them. I was waiting for the moment when they said or did something that touched me in the same way that the noise of the natural world did.

When Ivory and I first spoke, the beginning of our conversation went–

Hello there, may I have your name, and could you tell me a bit about why you’re calling today, I questioned.

Yes, hello, my name is Ivory, and I need some help getting my new computer–well, it’s used–but I need to get it connected to my phone somehow, she mumbled.

That should be no problem, and that’s a very unique name–are you named ‘Ivory’ like an elephant tusk?

Nope, I was named after the soap–she said this with confidence.


I think that sometimes regulars call me at ElectronTech for the same reason that I eagerly await their calls: they want emotional closeness veiled by physical distance.

Thursdays tend to be my busiest days–plenty of one-timers reaching out to sort some simple electronic errors. Sometimes, I get one or two regulars who contact me with an ongoing issue or for advice on their new device. This Thursday is one of those days.

My first regular to hop on the phone line is Herbert–

Hallo, Va-layn-teen. Look, I’ve got a doozy... he begins, my laptop keeps getting overheated and shutting down but my niece, Chrissy, is coming to stay with me for a while and she likes to play games on the old thing.

Well, let’s see what we can do. Unfortunately, the overheating may be an electrical malfunction, which could require in-person repair. My tone is sympathetic.

Ah, buckets. Just my luck, son. He takes a swig of something–I hear the liquid gurgle reverberate in the chamber of his throat. Chrissy, odd little girl, visits me yearly to see the ball game, you know? I’m not one for tending to the young...

He begins to trail off. Usually, Herbert’s more subtle. Pretends that I need to hear the context in order to understand the severity of his tech glitch, but this time he just dumps all of the information out without such a courtesy. I don’t mind. These moments are telling: even the most suppressed people need an outlet.

I take a few more calls from strangers, most of whom have managed to power off their monitors with their feet or knees, assuming that their systems have malfunctioned (an embarrassingly common mistake). Just like clockwork, Miss Donna reaches out at almost exactly half past one–the same time and day that I heard from her last week.

Vellie! An exasperated sigh. How are you, my dear? She sounds out of breath like she’s just walked up a hill.

Miss Donna–I’m doing well! The birds are still chirping, as my dad would say. What can I do for you?

Honestly, Vel, I promise I’ll circle back to my tech issue, but I’ve just gotta tell ya somethin’.

Lay it on me.

Well, I’ve been having the oddest experience. My grandson, he’s always had a knack for bringing small trinkets into the house. For a while, it was mostly just rocks. Thought he would become a geologist when he’s older! Who knows, right? Granny can dream. Well, recently, he’s taken to bones and feathers! At first, it creeped me out, but then I thought of you and your love for those flyin’ critters, and I thought maybe he’ll grow to be like you one day. I could almost hear her smiling.

Maybe, but he’ll probably be better off. I live alone in the woods and talk to birds. Not hard to top that. I realize how self-deprecatory that sounds, so I try to lighten my tone. But I don’t think you have anything to worry about, in terms of the bone collecting. I actually have a friend who does that, and her screws don’t seem too loose.

Miss Donna lets out a cackle. Alright, alright. I’ll stop bein’ such a nervous Nelly. Gotta let these kids be kids, for God’s sake!

You’re doing great. Truly. I mean it.  

We talk on the phone for a few more minutes, chatting mostly about the weather and our plans for the impending winter. We never get to talking about her tech issue.


I woke later than I usually do, feeling a pulsating throb, followed by a toxic churning, in my gut. My brow bone lined with a sweaty caterpillar, I lurch from my twin mattress to the closet-sized bathroom adjoined to my cabin. After a flavorless projectile vomit and twenty minutes or so of dry heaving, I curl into a fetal orb, delicately pressing my cheek to the chilled tile.

Once sure that no other bile is eager to exit my system, I crawl back onto my bed and create a makeshift nest out of my sweatshirt, two pillows, and comforter–cocooned on all sides. My father taught me to do this whenever I felt overwhelmed as a child: create a barrier between you and the outside world. I lean back against the wood-paneled wall, open up my laptop to log into my ElectronTech portal and email my supervisor, letting him know that I feel too ill to answer any calls today. There’s already a message in my inbox that reads–


Would you be available for a video chat at 3pm EST? Thank you in advance for your time.

Kind regards,

Kurt Eddis

This isn’t a good sign. Kurt’s an over-explainer, rambling on like a newborn Blue Jay ready to feed. If it were a performance assessment, that would have been scheduled way in advance. If it were anything protocol-related, Kurt would have scheduled a team meeting. The anxiety is a second round of regurgitated slosh making its way up my esophagus, but I’m too late, and vomit splashes onto the bedroom linoleum, some specks Jackson Pollock-ing the bedframe and my feet.

I clean up my mess, throwing any trace of my stomach contents into the campground dumpster, and tentatively sip on a cherry Pedialyte at my desk as I ruminate. The thoughts are not fully formed–there seems to be a fog cloaking my cerebrum–so instead, I just sort of jitter in a frenzy of self-pity teetering into self-loathing.

Despite my nausea, I take the call. It goes about as expected–

Budget cuts have led us to make some unexpected changes...

We deeply value all of our employees, but seniority takes priority...

You have been such a wonderful asset, and it simply breaks my heart to have to...

I hope having this knowledge a bit in advance allows you to...

Kurt continues his sermon, but the fog swallows half of what he’s saying. It’s fragmented, but I get the gist.


I’ve been putting sheets over the three mirrors that plague this cabin. Every time I look, my features seem distorted, like a Mr. Potato Head that’s had Mrs. Potato Head’s eyes shoved into his nasal cavity by some sticky-fingered tyke–not mine at all. This has contributed to my ongoing queasiness, so I’ve decided it’s best to avoid any and all reflective surfaces.

It’s been two weeks since my official layoff date, and I’ve lost five pounds, two ounces. In the past, I’ve been fired on several occasions, generally because of customer complaints about my attitude or my inability to grasp “elementary concepts” (just because something is common knowledge does not make it intuitive or simple). Those pangs of worthlessness had a shorter duration. They nudged at my rejection sensitivity, but I felt no nostalgia for the actual position I held. At ElectronTech, I was finally good at something. People responded well to me, and I helped them. I felt I was genuinely contributing, not just trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Beyond that, I was a part of a community. Not necessarily my colleagues–we had little in common–but the customers made me feel needed, trusted.

What ate at me most in my final days was my inability to reach out to Miss Donna and Ivory. Clients can choose to call me specifically, but their numbers are encrypted through the service, so I have no way of knowing their contact information. I felt like I was ghosting them, in a way. Maybe even letting them down. They wouldn’t know I was fired, so what if they assumed I’d just left? It would seem like I was abandoning them; choosing to vanish. The idea broke my heart.

In an act of what I can only assume was telepathy, Ivory reached out to me on my very last day–

Hey Val, I’ve got myself into a technological conundrum. Her voice was steady and melodic.

Sorry to hear that, Ivory. Happy to help, as always. Funny you say that, though, because I seem to have found myself in an existential conundrum. There was no time for build-up.

Oh no, what’s up?

Well, I got laid off, so I’m not going to be around much longer.

That’s so shitty, Valentin. Who’s going to listen to me ramble on about dead things? We laughed.

There was a pause.

I’m sure you’ll find a new “me” to report all your findings to. I tried to make my tone playful, not depressed. I landed somewhere unnaturally in between.

Doubtful–nobody’s you. She didn’t hide her melancholy.

My head went hot. I wanted to tell her that she had it all wrong–that she was the special one. Instead, I blurted out–

So, um. I cleared my throat. What’s wrong with your computer, or phone? What can I do?

Another pause. I heard her shuffle.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s a big deal. I was just being dramatic. Her tone went cold in a way I’d never heard before.

I could tell I’d said the wrong thing, and I didn’t know how to repair the damage. It was so difficult to wrap my head around her reaction. My absence was going to affect her. I held value in her eyes. This was all too much to process whilst trying to respond appropriately.

Oh, well, I’m sure there’s something I could do, still–was the best I could come up with.

No, no. I’ve actually got to get to something, I forgot. Her words were rushed. I hope everything works out for you, Val.

Yeah, I really hope–

She hung up.


Today is the first day that I feel some will to venture into the outside world and try to manage my rounds at the campground, so I whip up a sludge of watery quick oats, salivate on them until they make their way down my throat, and inch out the door. I have to stop and steady my body after the lock latches because the wind sashays clumsily, like a hefty, staggering drunk, nearly knocking me sideways. A bit dramatic for early September.

I make my way from campsite to campsite, creating a half-assed game out of tallying which soda happens to be the most popular for the campers based on their litter piles. Dr. Pepper is just barely besting Mountain Dew when I acknowledge how silent the surrounding area is. I’ve become so accustomed to the summer racket that I forgot the impending lull that creeps in right after Labor Day weekend. As much as I despise unnecessary run-ins with tree-hugger families and granola couples, I’m not so keen on existing in complete solitude with my thoughts. I check the campground log and find that there is one family and a single man camping on opposite ends of the grounds. I sigh a breath of relief at the thought of being sandwiched between the two.

I drive the grounds cart to the end where the man is meant to be camping. Sure as day, there’s a Ford truck with a humble 1990s camper attached to the rear. I’m about to U-turn down the gravel path when the man emerges from the camper, Busch Light in hand, scratching at his rotund gut. My head becomes weightless, save for a static vibration that fills the empty space, as if bees have inhabited it and are buzzing restlessly. I come to, if simply to verify what I’m seeing: a bald man dressed in a plaid short-sleeve, just barely covering a white wife beater, all tucked into a baggy pair of Wrangler blue jeans. His face maintains traces of an understated beauty, but the creases of his skin have permeated the landscape. I’m seeing Herbert. I’m seeing a man I’ve completely made up. Well, he’s real, but his image. I’ve actualized a fictive image. I blink. Still there. Blink again, but harder. There, still.

I put the golf cart in reverse and step on the gas, plowing my way backward down the gravel until I reach the roundabout, at which point I hastily park the cart and run the remaining ten yards to my cabin. I slam the front door behind me and deadbolt it, making my way to the bed nest I built weeks ago and have only added to since. I sit in the center and tap my middle fingers on my thighs as I inhale large gulps of oxygen, slowly releasing them to the rhythm of my finger thumps–like a metronome. Eighty percent of middle-aged men in the Pacific Northwest look like Herbert. The uncanny resemblance is completely coincidental; maybe I’ve even seen this man before and used his appearance to dress Herbert’s avatar in my head. These thoughts eventually ease me out of consciousness.


Upon waking, I notice a sharp awareness that I’ve lacked for weeks. I think that’s what they call survival instinct. Survive what? Herbert? Made-up Herbert lookalike? I feel pathetic. Not only have I lost my job, but I’ve lost my sanity with it. What type of person wraps their entire identity into an occupational role? I’ve got other hobbies. I’ve got the birds.

I decide to deep clean the entire cabin, disassembling the musty, makeshift bed nest for starters. From there, I take a toothbrush to the bathroom tile. The minutiae of this act brings me a fulfillment I’ve not experienced in an embarrassingly long while. Next, I take to the kitchen, rearranging every cabinet and giving it a new sense of order that feels even more intuitive. After about four hours, I feel a restored sense of peace settle my insides. Even my jaw unclenches.

Before he died, my father made it clear that the world revolves around its own axis, and it is each individual’s job to spot that rhythm and mimic it (This is how you find your footing, he’d say). He said that some people–like me and him–have a tendency to get distracted by other rhythms and overthink. These alternative rhythms can be the opinions of others, global tragedies, bad smells–anything. So, you must find something to ground you. I’ve chosen to attach myself to my surroundings: tending to them and creating order.

To celebrate my recapturing of self, I go on a quick wander through the woods, followed by a slow tracing of the grounds’ trails. Oddly enough, I do not spot a single jay or raven. I don’t even hear the chirp of a finch. The Ford truck is still parked–the man absent–but I am far less concerned with his identity. Last night’s thoughts were the ramblings of an untamed mind, one which required some discipline. I venture to the other end of the campground to see if I’m more fortunate with the corvid sightings.

As I stop to inspect a clump of wild salmonberries, I notice a scuffling behind the fallen cedar adjacent to me. I stand still, holding my breath, fearing the mass on the other end may be a bear or a cougar. I begin to cautiously back my way to the cabin when I hear a waaaahhh-zowww followed by a leaping seven-or-eight-year-old kid, landing clumsily on the dirt path, holding finger guns in my direction. He takes a swift inhale.

Sorry mister–thought you were my sister, he spittles a bit.

I give a vague thumbs up and watch him scurry away into the nothingness of fog. I hadn't even noticed the mist set in, which is already abnormal for midday, but not completely unheard of when the colder season sets in. Hope the kid knows where he’s going.

I continue on and wonder if maybe perpetuating the silence will bring out my passerine friends, so I perch on a picnic table, cocking my head to the side in hopes that mimicry serves as manifestation. Still nothing. I grow impatient after about twenty minutes. Suddenly, I hear voices from the neighboring site; I must have already made it to the other end of the campground. I near their setup and try to get a good look from behind the old growth trees.

The kid from earlier is swaddled in a wool blanket, nestled in the camping chair, and entranced by his Nintendo DS. There’s a small girl, maybe four, leaning against his shins, drawing asymmetrical swirlies with a comically large stick in the dirt. From the inside of the tent, there’s some ruckus. I assume it’s their adult changing or scavenging for kitchen supplies. Suddenly, a voice makes its way out of the nylon structure–

Y’all want Kraft or Chef Boyardee, the scratchy voice questions.

That’s an odd accent for these parts; you don’t hear a lot of “y’all”s around the Pacific Northwest. They’ve traveled far. The boy just nods while the little girl shouts something indistinct, blows a raspberry to the wind, and throws her stick at the tent, missing it by a little over three feet. The adult exits the tent with a sigh.

Now duckies, I need y’all to bear with me a bit because I’m feelin’ real peckish...

Elderly woman, baby pink, gingham smock dress, jerky-dry skin, and large white bun in shambles barely clinging to her scalp. I roll these facts over in my head once more. I’m making sure they make sense, add up. They do. Right in front of me. I cannot deny it, though I’ve never trusted my perception less. I swallow, which catches like a rambutan shell in my throat, creating a sound that parodies the moan of a feral cat with a mangled paw. Miss Donna’s eyes dart to the trees, searching.


I have no sense of how long I’ve been running. At this point, sluggish, I am simply ambling. My initial haste has retired. I don’t even think they’d be following me, but I can’t bear the idea of laying my eyes on them again or feeling theirs on me.

I know that I am nearing the coastal side of the park–the air is saline and crisp, the bark on the trees sponge-like. I can hear the waves lapping one another, eager to momentarily collide with the sand and swiftly retreat back to their homogenous form.

The sky is taking on a muted purple hue, ending the blackness in which I’ve been staggering the past few hours. The waxing moon provided some illumination, so I was not completely without direction, but the shapes and patterns were so indistinct that there was no way to be sure. I followed the growing dampness.

Something about the impending morning makes me feel hopeless like I’ve lost my chance of this all being a dream, though I feel that I’m formless and floating. As the sun initiates its soft kiss with the foggy horizon, I reach the cliffside. Seeing the water soothes me: some things are fixed, predictable.

I find a narrow path that leads down the cliffside and to the water. I let it guide me. I feel that if I reach the ocean, it will give me solace because I’ve reached something much greater than myself. Something that cannot be bothered by trivial life events. It needs to churn, to destroy, to produce. I’m craving openness. Perhaps I’m hoping to feel a part of that whole.

My toes connect with the dark, rocky sand as I get to the bottom and I stand there, letting my feet sink into the marshy sediment. This place feels hungry, but not like the woods. The woods felt ravenous and desperate, while this expanse is patient and favors choice. I walk closer to the water as it inches towards me, the sea foam gently embracing my ankles, popping playfully on my skin. The sky drips in soft corals and faint yellows. My eyes roam farther down the beach. I’m not the only one here.

The form, undeniably human, has its back to me and is crouched, concentrating on something in the sand. Before making any conscious decision, my body begins to propel itself towards the person. I need someone to tether me. My steps are wide and hurried. If my companion were facing me, they would probably assume I was planning to hurtle my body into theirs. I slow as I begin to approach. I can make out a patched, deep teal raincoat, covered haphazardly by a mane of carmine curls. They’re wearing black fingerless gloves that are digging at–no, dissecting–something at their fingertips.

Hi, sorry to disturb, I was just curious... I begin to say as she turns her head to face me.

I pause. She looks right at me. Her eyes are a deep brown, almost black. My eyes trail back down to what she’s picking at. It’s a crow. Probably a week or two decomposed, but still visibly a bird with a beak and feathers. Still fleshy. Her fingers are dug into the cadaver’s sternum, attempting to unearth something. Nearby, there’s a pile of small, glossy bones.

Oh, you’re busy. I try my best to sound calm.

She keeps staring, hands still groping the departed creature. She looks at me with a sense of familiarity, like she knew this moment was coming. Like she knows exactly who I am.

You’re all good, she smiles.

I know that voice. I’ve felt affection for that voice. I’ve felt seen by that voice.

I remain silent, so does Ivory. At present, we just stare at one another, snow-globed by the pressure of the atmosphere and a lapse in time. Nearby, a jay–however faint–sings his whisper song.

About the Author

Anna Williams

Anna Nielsen Williams is a Lewis & Clark College graduate with a degree in Sociology/Anthropology and a minor in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in the Santa Fe Writers Project Quarterly and Flash Fiction Magazine. She is currently writing from Burlington, Vermont.