It was an obsession his wife neither understood nor trusted. How could she, knowing nothing of field excursions, of combing through ornithology guides and tracking migratory routes? She could scarcely call to mind her own childhood, let alone envision the whelming rapture of winged flight.
Over time his studies enticed him farther and farther from home. He sought to plumb the entirety of their nature (slight bones, eyes aside sleek bills, porous torsos throbbing with swift pulses), for his heart soared with them, not her. And so it was no wonder that he one day crossed over, that thought soared too far forward into act as he imagined himself with them, among them, of them, and became a bird.
It was purely unintentional. He hadn’t planned to shrink, take on feathers, ensnare himself in avian form. It was unintentional, and humiliating, and fearful, for he fumbled with strange wings.
But then – when she discovered the stray sparrow flapping witless through her home, and tried to drive it outdoors with a swinging broom – the blow that crushed its skull was unintentional, too.