A woman sits on the patio of her empty house. The house is empty because things in her life have changed and now she is moving out of this house and into an apartment in another city. She is sitting because she is tired from all the hauling of all the things that have been inside the house, and from the emotional drain of all the changes that have happened over the past month. But when she thinks about this thought, she realizes that the changes have been happening for much longer than that and tries to decide for how long. A year? Two? Perhaps a decade? But as she becomes more engrossed in trying to figure out where exactly all these changes began, she thinks, with some satisfaction for having thought of it, that the changes have been going on since the day she was born. And then, of course, she realizes that it goes back much much further than that. This makes her feel a bit better about sitting alone on the patio of the empty house.
Two birds smash into the large patio window right beside the woman and fall with a thud to the ground. It is only in the absence of movement that the woman realizes that the birds had been flying around the yard chasing each other for quite some time while she had been thinking about other things. How long had she been sitting here lost in her thoughts? And what exactly had she been thinking about anyway?
From her seat on the patio, the woman can see that the two birds are not dead. One tries to flutter a wing that is obviously broken while the other lies still, its beak cocked at a uncomfortable angle. Why had they been chasing each other? The woman can see the birds breathing and begins to feel terrible waves of guilt, for this house with its large window, for the changes that led her to taking down the curtains, for sitting so still, for not paying more attention in ornithology class. She wishes she could do something. But, for obvious reasons, she can not.
The birds do not die right away, but lie on the ground staring at each other. They stare at each other until their eyes turn cold and even then, their gazes do not falter. The woman wonders, how long can this go on?