A Nocturnal Vision

A Nocturnal Vision

Anushka Mathur

I remember living in a place, where there were birds like me and they all howled and flew around and they never liked to stay for long.

Then the one with flowers gave me toast and I don't think about it anymore.

I didn't meet the one with flowers, first, I met a pale one first. I remember sitting on the branch of a tree, feeling bored. The pale one smiled at me, and he talked to me. He asked me if I was a nice bird I said yes, but I was rudely interrupted by the smiling one. The smiling one said something else and the pale one poked on my head. I liked the pale one. For some reason, I liked him.

But he put me into a prison and the world was fragmented with bars, and he took me away from darkness, the howling into an entirely new world. It was so bright, so much noise, and so many big things walking around in their almost repulsive bright world.

I was mortified. For some time I felt that my fate was nothing, but an owl even has to endure all this, that I would be caged forever, unable to spread my wings across, unable to soar. I had resigned myself to the bars and the cramped space, sitting with the pale one. He brought me up a flight of stairs, and I thought nothing of it.

I think I was told of it once, the funny little thing called love. Someone told me about it, but I don't recall if it really existed. As I found out that day, love is a thing that exists and it is very strange and powerful.

I liked the pale one, but when I saw the one with flowers I felt something, something strange and new, and oddly exciting. She smiled at me and I wanted to stay with her forever. She took me out of the cage, and allowed me to wander freely, it was for the first time i relied on the word love, that mythical thing that was very much real and I felt it for the one with flowers.

She took me with her to a new place without the pale one, and the one with four eyes, and I enjoyed the new place. I made some friends with the other owl. The one with flowers asked me to deliver letters for her, and I didn't mind. I got to fly, I got to see a lot of places and I visited the pale one and one with glasses all the time. The one with flowers talked to me like i was a big one, and we were even better friends than the pale one.

Once or twice I  have heard her cry and it scares me, more than the cage ever did. For someone who smiles so much, who likes flowers, and the sky and me, a simple barn owl with an odd name, she should not be crying. But I have seen her crying and even seen her waking up terrified. I have seen this too many times and now this is my greatest fear, not the cage.

But when she smiles I remember that everything is gonna be alright, and she will not be scared all the time, and when she gives me little flower crowns I wish my beak would stretch so I could smile at her, and when she shows me the letters she values so much, i remember that whatever haunts her in her head can leave and that as I put the letter in my beak, or wear the little flower crown, I am helping her drive the bad days away.

I am an owl, I am a friend. I am a good little bird just like the one with flowers tells me i am: and I think I believe her.


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