The Cry Of The Owl*

Cycling up to the mill with Dad, a white bird catches my eye.  At first I assume it’s a seagull, but then it turns towards me.  The heart-shaped face is unmistakable: it’s a barn owl.   Swooping low over the field, it turns and vanishes into the trees.

“Did you see the barn owl?” I say to Dad, as we turn the corner into the driveway of the mill.

“No,” Dad says, resplendent in his red puffer coat.  “Aren’t they asleep in the day?”  

“I think they hunt in the daylight in winter,” I say.  “Am sure that’s what I saw – it had a flat, heart-shaped face.”

“Didn’t see it,” Dad says.

“Well I did,” I say, feeling all warm inside.  It’s such a privilege to see this gorgeous creature in the wild.

Am back at the flat now, and need to:

1.  Have bath.

2.  Wash hair.

3.  Make supper.

4.  Tidy up.

5.  Wash pans in sink.

6.  Put clothes away.

“Buzz you in an hour if you’re free,” Seb’s message comes through at 4.59pm.

“Yay!  Am at the flat.” I say.  My darling boy has not forgotten me, despite his two exams tomorrow.

That gives me forty minutes to read my new Clara Vine book.  The housework can wait.  Reading is more important.  Anyway: have a headache and am in bed.  Am not leaving my bed to perform all those unpleasant tasks.

Happy Sunday everyone!
*1962.  By Patricia Highsmith.  Psychological thriller.


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