Sammy the Seagull
Driving home after
work across the small town of Auburn, I was jolted out of my mundane routine
by a plain gray seagull, a bird I’ve called a wannabe eagle, which to most
is mainly a pest.
As I stopped at a
light, I saw this seagull flopping around on the road beside me. To help the
seagull, I would’ve had to drive through the intersection, turn around, and
come back through the light, since I was headed in the opposite direction.
When the light changed I drove away thinking: someone else will help the
As I drove away, I
kept thinking of the seagull’s face and earnest look in its eye as it fought
to fly, and I knew it was going to get run over by a car at any moment. I
kept telling myself someone else will help it, but finally I circled around
and headed back to the seagull, knowing I would not be happy with myself if
I didn’t try to help.
Driving back, I half
expected to find the seagull smashed on the road, but when I arrived it was
nestled up against the curb, resting. Parking in the lot behind Albertsons,
I sat in my car looking at the bird, and thought: I don’t know what I am
supposed to do. Looking in the backseat, I saw a towel left for my dog.
Grabbing the towel, I jumped out of the car, and headed toward the seagull.
When I got close to
the seagull it struggled away from me back into the street and I saw blood
under its wing. I still didn’t have any idea what to do, but as I walked up
behind, the bird fell down, and I dropped the towel over it. Scooping its
wings in, I picked the seagull up with its head facing away from me. It
immediately stretched its neck around and lunged at my nose with snapping
beak. Quickly I stretched my arms out and held the seagull as far away from
my face as possible. We eyed each other.
I started walking
across the street feeling self-conscious, thinking that people probably
think I’m stupid, saving a seagull. As soon as I got to the other lane a van
drove over the spot where I had lifted the bird. To my surprise, the woman
driving rolled down her window and yelled, “thank you!”
Holding the seagull as
far away as possible as it was still snapping its beak at my nose, I said:
“don’t worry; you’re going to be okay.” It looked taken aback as it
considered my words. Its beak paused in mid snap.
I walked up the
entrance to the parking lot where my car was, thinking: okay, now - what am
I going to do? I was picturing a drive with the seagull wrestling around in
my car, renewing its desire to eat my nose. Then I imagined myself trying to
care for it at home with an overexcited dog and two hungry-eyed cats.