I hate birds.
My sister had two birds when we were younger. One was yellow and the other one was blue. I cannot recall their names, but my sister had a hard love for those gross things.
She’d walk around the house with both of them in her clenched fists and would chase me with them. I was terrified. Their claws always looked ready to scratch the shit out of a face if they had the chance.
I won’t lie. I was a mean sister. I used to sing this song that I made especially for her. It was called “Nick’s a hippopotamus”. I’d break out the number any time we got into a heated argument or if I just wanted to be an asshole.
Most of the time, I was just being an asshole.
Even though she was four years younger than me, I never underestimated her revenge tactics. One day whilst sitting on the crapper, she broke into the bathroom and let one of the birds loose. I had to make the split decision of running out of there with poop on my ass or to just sit there and beg for her to come and get the damn thing.
I can’t recall who it was that left the backdoor ajar one sunny summer day, but one was accidentally set free (I swear to baby Jesus that it was not me). My poor sister stayed out there calling to it and coaxing it with bread and birdseed. She was moments away from submitting a picture to the milk carton people when she asked me to help her find it. I knew it was gone.
“It hated you,” I chuckled.
She turned to me with such a hurt in her eyes and I immediately regretted what I said.
“Maybe it just needs some time to itself. Like a vacation. It’ll come back.”
It never did.
Sometimes when things get overwhelming and painful in my life, I picture that bird flying out that door without thinking twice about the consequences. Just fly far, far away from all the problems in my world. Be as free as an ugly house bird.
This past weekend, someone left the door open for all of us and we drove for refuge at the red cottage on the corner of a small town in the middle of nowhere.
I rolled down the window when the lake came into view.
“Mom! This smells fresh. The air smells fresh here!”
It actually smelled of wet pavement, dead leaves and fish but there was a definite shift in the oppressive feeling.
The atmosphere was inviting and ready for our laughter and smiles and the permission to think of only the moment our feet were going to be planted in.
And I did just that.
We were only gone for a few days, but it was enough time for it to nourish what our souls were starved of.
Sometimes that is all you need in order to get the enough strength to draw back your shoulders, straighten your spine, and to look right back into the face of chaos.
I can’t always ”fly” away from it, this I know for sure.
But always try hard to remember that it also can’t cage me forever.
I don’t know where my sister’s bird ended up flying to, but I hope that it felt free from its little birdie issues…
…for a short time…
…just before a hawk tore it to hell.
That’ll teach you to attack me on the toilet and for breaking my sister’s heart.