Green Woman - I LOVE RAW!!!
D.4 - One Day, One Life (the story of a bird)
One Day, One Life
"It has begun to dawn on me that I may not be immortal.
~ Jerry Moulder
The yard sale got rained out.
On Saturday, I was up by 7am and immediately raking in $20's and $5's on my temporary new line of clothing, shoes, lop-sided bookshelves and ragged couches. By 2pm, I had nearly $300 cash stuffed into every available pocket of my jeans, and I still had a yard full of junk waiting to be turned into some other man's "treasure".
But not today. Today, I am scurrying from yard to door, door to yard, throwing things inside and rushing out again to grab still more, and cursing the rain and cursing the cold and cursing myself for waking up at 7am again, expecting to rake in another $300 and ignoring the sunken gray sky and thick bitter taste of city rain in the air.
Last thing thrown inside, last box toted, last purse tossed, last couch dragged. Nothing ruined - I hope.
And I'm standing on my front porch now, being angry with the world for forcing me to hold the yard sale a second day, and getting up early a second day, and dragging couches until my back went out a second day, when all I made was two dollars and fifty cents in change... and then got rained out!
And suddenly my eyes are riveted on the road, where the noise came from.
Everything rushes by in a blur and my brain is rewinding and fast-forwarding in hyper-speed, trying to piece together what just happened.
Rain. Grey truck. Rain. Speeding truck. Feathers. More feathers. And rain.
And the sound of flapping jolts me alive again, flapping wings, flapping... now fluttering... now silent.
A bird. The bastard hit a bird.
The bird has landed, almost at my feet, after flying in a crazy arch across the road, leaving a heap of its soft feather drifting around on the road, drifting down to the pavement, soaked in rain.
I stoop over, still in shock. Horrified at the spectre of pain now twisted at my feet, the pile of feathers with wings splayed, head cocked sideways at an impossible angle, beak cracked open slightly, eyes rolled back in its head... it's alive - barely - and breathing ragged spurts out through its beak. It's whole body shudders, hiccoughs, with every breath.
I stand, still in shock. And as I stand, the shock drains from my skull and pulses like hot blood through my body and floods out of my hands, my kneecaps, my pores.
"Oh, God!" I exclaim, but it's not a prayer.
A spit of rain slaps my face from an insolent cloud. I run to the heap of crappy clothes I had just a few minutes earlier been selling for 25 cents, and I grab a red shirt, my fiance's shirt, and run back to the bird.
It gazes at me, heaving more now, breathing less now, hurting more now... and I hold the red shirt over it, stooping down to protect it from the rain, and crying.
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I keep saying to it, holding its yellow-eyed, frantic gaze and watching it die.
I wonder if it has always been a bird, if souls are limited, if this bird is not a human trapped in feathers, if I'm doing it any service by stooping over it, whispering "It's okay... it's okay.... I'm so sorry" over and over helplessly.
And then I realise. We are none of us immortal. We are all of us locked in a desperate downward grip with the fates, and we are all of us doomed - to die.
I begin to cry inside, tears welling up in my soul. But my eyes are dry.
Oh God, please.... it's in pain.... just let it go.
That is all I pray. And just as quickly, the bird's head lolls slowly to the side, it's wing slowly relaxes, it's beak slowly closes, it's eyelid slowly flutters down and it dies.
I don't cry. My soul is empty of tears. The heap of feathers is empty of life.
I gently wrap it in the red shirt. My goodbye is said. The bird I had only just met, is gone for good.
We are none of us immortal. So
live now and live well,
lest you die
while still awake
and the years you hold as limitless,
while your back is turned.