Blue Jay

   There used to be a blue jay living outside our white-paned bay window. It’s been years since I last saw it—maybe eight, maybe twelve—but I must have been pretty young because every time I saw the thing I’d point it out to my father, screaming “look there’s that little blue birdy in its little neat straw-tucked nest.” Like he didn’t already know the damn bird lived there. I’d usually see it in the mornings, so I wouldn’t see it often because I wasn’t a morning person. I’m still not. But, I gotta say, if that blue jay were still here, maybe I’d have a reason to wake up before noon.
   There used to be a blue jay living outside our white-paned bay window, but the tree it lived in started creeping up above the third pane, and my father wouldn’t have it anymore. He scolded that tree one day: he criticized its tangling twig branches and its hoodlum leaves and the fact that it was much too grown to be a proper adornment for his polished crack-ridden patio. He told his maybe-six-maybe-ten-year-old daughter that he would trim its branches and leaves so that our family could see our pristine wilting-grass backyard. I didn’t want to see the backyard, though. I wanted to see the blue jay.
    I told him that there was a blue jay living outside our white-paned bay window (like he didn’t already know the damn bird lived there), in the tree that was nearing the fourth pane. He promised me that a bit of trimming wouldn’t harm the blue jay. It would stay right there in those clipped twigs and shaven leaves. I kept thinking about how cutting down dead trees also gets rid of forest animals’ homes—I learned that from a PBS Kids show. But I didn’t say anything about the show or the trees or the animals; I was just a kid. Besides, my father said it would only be a trim.
    There used to be a blue jay living outside our white-paned bay window, but once my dad slashed the tree back to the bottom pane, the blue jay disappeared (like he didn’t already know the damn bird wouldn’t come back). The nest was gone too—the nest that had tiny blue eggs in it, only waiting a few more weeks for the peak of spring to hatch. I don’t like to think about that part for too long. I could see into the backyard, could even see some cardinals flapping around the cactus green grass. I didn’t care for the cardinals too much because they’re red. My favorite color was blue. I think I saw a woodpecker once too, striking a sturdy cherry tree with a persistent pat-pat-pat-pat-pat, but I don’t think that tree was its home because I never saw it there again. The woodpecker could have stayed in the cherry-filled home if it wanted to—that tree wasn’t blocking any windows. For a few months after the first and only sighting of the woodpecker, I shifted my gaze from beneath the white panes to the indents on the cherry tree; I twisted my head to try and pick up the pat-pat-pat-pat-pat again. I eventually resolved that the woodpecker must have been a dream. I didn’t know where to look after that.
    Maybe eight, maybe twelve years later, the tree keeps creeping up the bay window. I guess my father keeps trimming it down. I don’t care much anymore. The blue jay won’t come back.

Stephanie Leow is an English (Writing, Rhetorics, and Literacies) PhD student at Arizona State University, pursuing her aspiration of being a college professor. She graduated from Georgetown University, where she studied English and Linguistics. She loves to teach and loves to write, but especially loves teaching writing.