For five or six days now, he’s been tapping. Ever since Carolyn put the tulips in a vase on the sill of the kitchen window. Mistaking the purplish-red of the petals for berries, perhaps. Or – but no. It couldn’t be.
When she hears him tapping she rises from her desk in the study down the hallway and ventures to look at him, inching across the kitchen tiles so that she can better see the glint in his sideways-on eye, the space-hopper orange of his beak, the sootiness of his feathering. He looks wise. Masterful, even. They stare at each other, the double panes of glass between them until a sudden gust of wind spooks the bird into taking cover within the laurel hedge which encloses the view from the window. She leaves the kitchen with the vase of tulips and sets them on her desk. But still the blackbird comes and taps, two or three times a day.
By the sixth morning, she has quietened and slowed her movements so much that the bird does not flinch even when she puts her fingertip to the glass. She waits for him to tap his beak against it, but it’s still a shock when he does. As she feels the glass vibrate against her finger, a feeling of exultation passes through her being.
Each night when Carolyn gets home from work, she steps out of the car and pauses there in the garage, poised between three worlds; the world in her head, and the worlds outside of it, the exterior of work and the interior of home. The twilit sky is the void between the worlds. She sees the lights of aircraft pass high across it, and follows the path of one for a while, before looking instead for the emerging patterns of the familiar constellations. She wishes there was a moon she could wish upon, to transform the blackbird back into the man who is gone, for by now she is quite sure that it is his reincarnation. Genie or none, tomorrow morning she will open the window, and let the blackbird back into her world.