The seagull

It was her first venture halfway across the country. The flight landed after dark and she unfolded the itinerary in her pocket, following the instructions she had carefully mapped out in advance. She found the train station right away. She was surprised there were no barriers or gates to go through, just a ticket machine where she felt a bit of panic when she heard the rumbling of an approaching train and decided to run up the escalator up to the platform. She boarded the train and forgot the ticket altogether. There were few sleepy passengers slouched in their seats. At some point, a man walked in with an old fashioned boom box blaring on his shoulder and woke them up. Later, in the silence of the street at night she became aware and irritated by the rustling of the fabric of her red rain coat.

In the morning, she opened the window and was surprised it opened all the way and had no netting. She sat on the edge of the bed and looked out at the rooftops and blue sky. There was a billboard on top of a building, blocking the view, promoting an iPhone or something or other. A group of seagulls sat underneath it, their white bodies slowly starting to show movement. She listened to the sound of the city waking up, enjoying the cool freeze. Suddenly a seagull landed on the windowsill. Its large wings stretched the entire width of the window, then folded like a cape under the mass of white feathers. It stood there, turning its head sideways, eyes like shiny black buttons peering into the room and then arriving at hers. She did not move and worried what would happen if the seagull decided to come in. The bird shifted its weight from one leg to the other, and after an undetermined amount of time, flew away.

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