Edgar had always been alone. His first memory was waking up from a midday nap, prying his shuddering and heavy eyes open, lifting his head from the pillow on his bed and seeing no one there to welcome him back from slumber. He rubbed his eyes with his palms, adjusted himself to the light and walked, precariously, through the house in search for his mother. Edgar never knew, nor would he ever know, that at that time, his mother was in the garage having extramarital intercourse in her station wagon.
Edgar was four years old at this time, and lived with constant separation anxiety. His mother, Evelyn, birthed Edgar unintentionally. While she had no plans to today, or any other day, 15 years from now she would, in a fit of anger, tell Edgar he was a mistake. Edgar, after admittedly only a moments search for his mother, began to cry. Evelyn could not hear his cries. After a painstaking hour of trying to get him to sleep, she felt vindicated in engaging in this act unfettered, and her moans were a manifestation of that, more than the pleasure she received from her male suitor.
Unsure of what to do, Edgar did what most children would do, he sat on the couch, clutched at a pillow and wept. First loudly and hysterically with the hope that salvation was a mere earshot away, and then weakly, as if the way an injured and helpless dog cries after breaking a bone. In the garage, Evelyn relished in the moment of having responsibilities for no one: not for her burdensome and austere husband and not for her sensitive and fragile son.
After some time, a crow perched itself on the branch of a naked tree, just outside the window from where Edgar sat. It was not the first time Edgar had seen this type of bird, with its gleaming black feathers and penetrating eyes, but he was always accustomed to them flying. And now here it was, sitting next to him, with but a partition of glass separating the two. Edgar stared hopefully at the bird. He tapped on the window gently. The bird reacted and turned his head, with a subtle and curious tilt to see who or what it was making the noise.
Edgar, with tears dried to his crimson cheeks began to cool down. He waved at the bird and the bird nodded slightly yet unmistakably in return. He felt safe, almost instantly. The two sat for nearly fifteen minutes together before Edgar’s mother slipped in through the garage door. When he saw her, he didn’t feel the comfort he normally did, but fear that this was a woman who left him and may leave him again. Evelyn was mortified that Edgar sat there, within earshot of her screams. She was worried about herself first, and in some capacity, Edgar knew this: her hair in disarray, her button down blouse flung over her shoulder, and her shoes in one hand. The unknown scared Edgar and the prospect of the known scared Evelyn.
After adoring reassurance of her love and devotion, a pleasant movie put on and a surprise snack made for his enjoyment, Edgar felt a bit better, but in a way that was unnatural- It wasn’t the way he felt when the crow nodded and sat with him, in silence, and in company.
For the ensuing years, Edgar often encountered this crow in times of isolation. It would return, and perch outside the window, and the two would sit together as Edgar grew old enough to stay home alone, and as Evelyn felt comfortable leaving the house to pursue her interests. They sat while Edgar watched movies, while he read, and while he planned out his future. What was always constant, was the mutual recognition the two had and that the crow, in some capacity, knew he provided solace to Edgar, and perhaps Edgar to him.
And on the eve that he left for college, three months and seventeen days after Evelyn told Edgar that he was a mistake, he went outside in the yard and waited. He waited for an hour until the crow finally flew down. He didn’t perch on his shoulder, or come and eat off his hand, but he went back to the tree he’d always sat on, and stared at Edgar. Edgar knew, at that moment, that he would never return home again. And, content with that, he also knew that the crow would find him again, and sit outside his window.