I am standing at the foot of a small hill, and the white of the birds dot the scraggly grass and branch spires of surrounding trees. A seagull, one of his feet missing, hops along the periphery. I toss the bread to him. Other seagulls attack. I toss the bread everywhere, to divert their attention, and also aim at the injured seagull. I name him Moby. The seagulls pick up on this. They see more bread diverted to him, and they peck at the footless one until he hobbles farther away. I inch closer to him, and the birds follow in a wave. I am their mama duck.
Again, I scatter crumbs, whole rolls everywhere, so masses of white separate from the single footless one, and I throw him a few crumbs, but a few seagulls always return to taunt him. The footless one is leaving. I scream, "Leave him alone you big bullies! You fuckers!"
I am so exasperated with effort and focus and failure. Raphael is drawing in his notebook, on a weathered picnic table. He abandons his work and walks over to me. "People are going to think you are crazy. Stop shouting!" he is laughing at me, and shaking his head. "But they won't leave him alone. I want him to eat."
"Birds like that are meant to die," he says, and turns away to his work.