Yesterday had held the potential to be a perfect day. After he had left, a thick envelope from an old friend arrived by post. She brewed fresh coffee, peeled a clementine, and sat and savoured the letter.
Chatty and full of news, it brought hope, a part of her old self stirred. The fruit juice on her fingers and the lingering aroma of coffee smelt exotic in the small apartment.
She suddenly felt giddy with life again.
Out to the grocer’s, the pharmacy, errands run there was still time for the market. The first day of spring and the sky was the most beautiful blue.
She found the ceramic bird, among the household debris, noticed it for its colour; the impossible blue of the sky that day. Wanted it immediately, a keepsake of this feeling of lightness. She held it in her palm, cool and smooth, its weight convincingly heavy. There was a small mysterious hole in the top of the bird’s head.
She bought it without haggling, calculating the juggling she would have to do with the housekeeping money. Everything seemed possible.
On his return she had shared her joy, showing him the blue bird. He became enraged at her ‘spendthrift ways’, cursed, grabbed the bird, smashed it against the kitchen wall.
She knew from past experience not to weep. Swept the broken ceramics up, served the meal, retired to bed.
The next day, after he had gone to work, in her bare feet she trod on an un-noticed shard of the bird. Unshed tears from the night before, and many nights before that, unleashed. On the kitchen floor she had wept violently, until utterly spent. Then lay down, closed her eyes.
Death comes to everything, but oh, she had only had the blue bird for a few hours.
Opening her eyes she saw a curl of paper under the kitchen units. It could only have come from the blue bird; he demanded that she kept the apartment spotless.
Reaching out she found that the paper was yellowed, and there, hand-written in old-style letters was the word ‘FREEDOM.’
by F. E. Clark, 2015
I wrote this story in response to the above photo prompt, and including the words 'death comes to everything' for the Luminous Creatures contest, week 7. It came 3rd place, but this is not the end of the story for this piece - a lovely artist friend read my story, and made this fabulous blue bird - which I think really illustrates the possibilities for the character in my story. I am now proud owner of this blue bird - thanks to Marion Achurch. There is something very beautiful about the ripples sent out from creative energies.