A Broken Bird

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a dead bird and the thoughts that sparked off of it in a lonely mind.

Submitted: September 02, 2012

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Submitted: September 02, 2012

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A Broken Bird

That night I tried to take my mind off the bird but its tiny, broken lifeless frame kept swimming before my eyes. I remember taking sections of my hair, tiny sections, and systematically plaiting them. I placed one strand over the next and so on until half my head was covered in a mass of tiny, rope-like plaits. I thought of those rag dolls with wool for hair and wondered if my hair resembled one of those. After a while my hands worked automatically and my mind was free to wander back to that tiny dead bird I’d seen earlier in the day. At first it depressed me. Not the usual kind of childish sadness but a deep-rooted grief which seemed to take hold of me and shake me and at first I couldn’t understand why.

I started to think about the bird’s fleeting life. I pictured it cracking out of its egg, only to find itself perched precariously half way up a tree, faced with nothing but dead worms and the constant bleating noises of its siblings. I watched it grow in my mind, and saw it stretch out its wings. It was going to try to fly. Did it know that if failed there was a cat sitting patiently at the base of the tree just waiting to devour it? Perched at the edge of its nest I watched it for what seemed like forever. Finally it threw itself out of its home and soared high above the cat- free as a bird. I watched it climb, and glide and dive for a few short minutes. Then I watched it go crashing into a car windscreen and drop to its undignified and sudden end. The bird, crumpled in the road, was so alone and insignificant. But then again weren’t we all?

At the end of the day, I realised, we all die alone. At this point the feeling of grief almost overcame me and I slid down my wall until I was crouching in the corner of my room, hands still mechanically plaiting my hair. My own broken, crumpled body replaced the bird’s in my mind’s eye and I saw that there was no difference. Someday I would die, and there was nothing I could do to change this. Nothing that I achieved in my life would affect it in the slightest. What was the point in keeping up the charade? Working hard, settling down, having children only to burden them with the same fate? Why would anyone want this?

Gradually though, as more and more of my hair was methodically sectioned off and plaited, I started to realise the true implications of my realisation- the freedom it gave me. I would die alone. Regardless of anything that happened in my life; I would die alone. What difference did it make that I had no friends, no family that loved me, that I wasn’t beautiful or clever? Wouldn’t the popular, lover, pretty and smart girls end up just the same as me? Just the same as that pitiful bird? I let this idea develop in my mind as I sat there, and by the time every strand of hair was neatly sectioned off and confined to its plait; the grief had lessened. Instead, tears rolled slowly down my cheeks. I rose from my awkward crouch and climbed into bed, relishing the feeling of cold covers against my legs- but at the same time feeling a sort of detachment.

Nothing could touch me now- truly deeply touch me. I felt immune to the world’ somehow above day to day life. I laughed suddenly and loudly at the idea of going to school the next day and acting like everyone else. I relished in the idea that they wouldn’t even know I was acting. They wouldn’t know what I knew. That it didn’t matter. That nothing mattered. That we all die alone.


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