Canadian Birds

Bird shit falls on my face and I want to cry, because before this I have always liked pigeons. They look really cute in pictures and on TV, but I guess photographers and moviemakers don’t like capturing them scrounging and shitting.

I look around and hope that no one has noticed. My parents are ahead of me, their backs turned; the old men around me are playing Chinese chess on stone tables. I frantically dig in my pockets for a handkerchief.

Ai lao Zhou-ah! Ni lai kan!

I jump. I flush when I see that the old men are laughing at me. Spotted fingers are pointing; wooden soldiers are left without direction on their grid-like battlefields. Halted in my search for a handkerchief, I feel a glazed look slide over my face.

My parents must’ve heard them, because they’re also hysterical with laughter. I watch these people contort their faces and wheeze for air. My eyes prickle like crazy, but I won’t cry.

“Don’t just stand around,” Dad finally chokes out. “Get a tissue or something.”

“I don’t have one.”

“Here. Wipe it off.” Stepmother, gasping for breath and her face bright red, proffers a tissue.

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 4. Purchase the book to read the full piece.