once upon a time… a little boy stood on his balcony looking out into the cold winter sky. the sun had very recently risen, and beams were reflecting off the high rise buildings before him, but even with its weak caress it was still cold. and if something like the sun couldn’t make it warmer, what could a mere boy do? he felt so small.
as he watched the angles of the beams changing with the rising sun, a small object obstructed his vision and he couldn’t help but think how much smaller and more insignificant it was. the insignificant little bird fluttered, landing on the ledge and looked up at the boy expectantly.
it was a cute little birdy, and he couldn’t help but admire that, although small, she seemed like she could do so much with the brilliance of her wings. she must be cold, he thought, and hungry. and in an attempt to help her he did something unforgivable.
he caught her.
at first the little bird struggled. she flew around the cage he had trapped her in, biting at the cold metal and clawing at the plastic containers. but by the time the sun had set she had become tired, and drank cautiously from the water he had poured for her. he smiled and put a blanket over the cage so she would stay warm, but didn’t realise that it obstructed her view of the rest of the world. the world that she had seen so much of in her freedom.
he didn’t understand when she refused to eat. he bought every different kind of bird food he could find, but she was protesting. she wanted to go home: even though she didn’t have somewhere to belong, there was somewhere else she longed to be.
but days passed and the little birdy realised that if she didn’t eat she would lose the strength to fight against his tyranny. so she kept herself alive and designed the ways in which she could escape, eyeing jealously the birds that roamed freely in the fresh spring air.
by the time the spring had passed she had given up hope. the cage was impenetrable to her soft wings and small beak, and she grew to live in her imagination of the outside world. the boy would bring her food and water, and she would pretend she went on adventures while he sat by her and spoke in a language she didn’t understand. they watched the sunrise together and eventually he was also in the adventures by her side as they fought intricately wound cage-monsters together.
when summer came he started forgetting. the cage would never be cleaned, and he’d miss dinner on most days of the week. when he did remember the little bird existed, he brought her food and refilled her water and went away, never sitting beside her just to watch the sunrise. he disappeared from her adventures and she was consumed by loneliness once again. the more she wondered about what the outside world had become, the more scared she became.
and then he let her go.
she took her first steps of freedom as he pulled her out of her cage and realised she’d forgotten how to fly. she’d forgotten how to find worms early in the morning, and she’d forgotten she had to fly south for the autumn. confused and hungry, she hid under a tree and looked up at the ledge where she had landed what seemed like a lifetime ago. just because she thought the curious looking boy seemed sad and wanted to know why.
and she promised herself that she’d never get so close to a human ever again.