Her face was red, like she was suffocating. She choked on lengthy sobs. Her words became tangled in wails and her body flooded the dirt.
"Shh, Elena," I whispered. The mothers on the playground had taken witness to my actions. It must have been obvious that this child didn't belong to me. They were zeroing in on our peculiarity.
"It's okay," I said, crouching into her space. "It's not dead. Look."
Her body went still and she opened her eyes. In her silence, the quiet calls of the orphaned baby bird became audible. Elena wiped the tears from her face and moved to where the little bird lay. It couldn't have been more than a few hours old. It flopped between blades of grass, crying weakly.
"It's cold," Elena said. She picked it up with an innate sensitivity, and cradled it in her palm.
I handed her a Kleenex from the pocket of my coat.
"Wrap it in this," I said. "You shouldn't touch it, it's disgusting."
"No it's not," she said, obeying me nonetheless, "it's a baby."
I leaned close to look at the thing. It's bulging eyes were closed, and it's over sized beak cracked open.
"I think it's hungry," I said.
"I think so too," Elena said. "What can we feed it?"
"You should have thought about that before you took it from its mother," I said. Her smile sank.