Tag Archives: Birdland

“Birdland”- Fiction by Julia Dixon Evans

Child and Bird – Kaoru Kawano, 1950

After their parents’ deaths, three sisters reunite & resurrect some unsettling secrets in “Birdland,” Julia Dixon Evans‘ unforgettable short story from our Summer 2017 issue.

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MY SISTERS ARE DUE ANY MINUTE. A rush of birdwing-flap overhead, the shadow of their cloud. Migrating sandpipers maybe, or golden plovers; I am a bit rusty these days. It’s cold out, the sun still up but June always seems like the wintriest month we have here: moody and overcast, unpredictable, twenty degrees cooler at night than at noon. Bits of crabgrass fall from between my fingertips and thumb. I rub them together like a chef dusting rubbed salt over a pan and that metaphor probably means I’m the salt, ground up and rubbed to within an inch of my life so that whatever’s in the pan has a better time of it.

I wait for more birds. I wait for my sisters. This is all I have.

When we first took over the mortgage on this house it seemed like the best idea. Our parents, dead younger than anyone expected, left us an unfinished mortgage, anemic life insurance policies, and a disastrous filing cabinet full of 5% useful documents about their finances and 95% shit that should have been shredded ten years ago. The worst part about their death was being annoyed by them because of this. I just wished they’d give me some time to miss them. It sometimes feels like they died forever ago, not four months ago. It sometimes even feels like it’s still happening.

Sarah is the oldest, the wildest. She’s thin and tall, disarmingly brilliant, and she’s mean. Louise is the youngest, the kindest, the timid one. She’s built like me, which is to say: not thin, not tall, not disarmingly brilliant, not mean. I usually can’t stand Louise.

Next to my sandals in the grass there’s a can of strawberry soda. I stopped drinking soda ten years ago (for Lent, for superiority, for the squishiness around my stomach) but it’s all my parents left in this house. Soda and five or six bottles of expensive whiskey with only an inch left each. I lift the can up, a straw in the metal hole, and drink until the straw rattles with empty. I turn my back to the late sun in the hope that it’ll warm me more. Last night when it was also cold, I sucked Rafael’s dick in my car and he loved me and grabbed at my stomach and said what does it feel like to have someone this into you? and today he said I think I hate myself when I’m with you.

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