At nightfall I like to watch the bats wheeling and swooping over the housetops.  Except that Partner says they’re not bats.  “They’re birds,” he says.



“Look at them!” I say.  “Birds don’t fly like that!  Also, most birds don’t fly in the dark!”



He shrugs.  It’s one of those disputes we’ll keep having even after we’ve been put away in the old ladies’ home.



It’s late autumn now, not really bat season here in southern New England, but I am reminded of this mostly because of the sudden passing of my old boss Sharon.  She and I shared a basement office on the main campus for a couple of years in the 1980s; it wasn’t much, but we got by.  One morning she came in with an odd look on her face.  “There’s something stuck to the wall outside in the hallway,” she said.  “I think it’s a bat.”



I raced out to see.  Sure enough, it was a tiny bat, clinging to the wall in the hallway, crumpled as if it’d been injured.  I’d seen it as I came into the office that morning, but I’d assumed it was some odd stain on the wall; it was a basement after all, and all kinds of odd things end up on the walls.



Anyway: Brown University had a bat-research project, and a bat hotline.  We called, and they came over with their butterfly net and gently removed the tiny thing from the wall.



Today, over twenty years later, Brown still maintains its bat research lab.  I was just reading an article in a campus publication about how carefully they care for the sick and wounded bats.  I can still picture that poor little fellow (or girl) back in the 1980s, who looked as if he/she was in pain, and how glad we were that someone came to take care of her.



I hope he/she lived to swoop above the treetops again.



Even if Partner doesn’t believe those are really bats.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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