He was waiting for the chickadees. They had left with the cold; went south or whatever. He cleaned their house out over the long winter. The roof was patched and the new paint shiny and white. He had done the right thing, everything he could. The chickadees would come back soon.
He told himself it was a late spring. The little pond was still cold, the goldfish sluggish. But the cardinals were back already. So were the robins. They were so much more colorful, easier to spot. Maybe his birds had already returned. It was so hard to see them sometimes. He had to remember to pay attention. They needed attention. It would be different this time.
He knew better, even before the goldfinches took over the empty house. The chickadees had abandoned him. He wasn’t angry. That had been before; that was what had driven them away. Instead he closed a curtain over the window that faced the pond and the birds. Now he could clean out his house; patch up the fist sized holes in the drywall; make everything shiny and white again. She had loved to watch her chickadees. He wondered if she missed them as much as he did.