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Watching This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Unknown
   Silent eyes. From his perch, he watches. Theyare everywhere, he knows that. Yet for some reason they hold him rapt,his eyes locked on their graceful motion, their apparent chaos hidingsome inner beauty and purpose.

The white sands of the beach arespread before him. The balmy, late-evening breeze slowly sways the treesand the soft hum of rustling leaves is soothing. The ocean's slow andconstant turning continues in its infinite pattern, roiling andtrembling. Its emerald hue fades into foreboding darkness in thedistance. Near the shore, it is calm.

On the horizon is a storm.For now, though, the sky is clear, and there is hope the clouds willkeep their distance. But this is part of the watcher's world, things heperceives without knowing it. What is obvious to him, others may notsee. His focus shifts to newcomers on the beach.

There is aswarming mass of them, too many to count. Strange noise comes from them.On a platform, four of the creatures move around, making the strangestof noises, while below the swarm pulsates and undulates with the rhythm.The moment re-minds him of the dancing of his own kind, but how theseprimitive creatures could know of such pleasure, he cannot conceive. Thecreatures have plumage like a second skin, each a different color, someflashy, some dark, some a single color, others many. He has troubletaking it all in.

They can't see him. He knows better; he doesnot want to draw attention. They are fidgety and flighty creatures. Butwhat freedom they have! A few had been there all day, but recently, anamazing number have filled the expanse. They seem to be without care,wandering aimlessly. He knows they must have families andresponsibilities, but it still is hard for him to believe. Any creaturethat kills its own kind makes him wary.

One is moving away fromthe rest, nearing his perch. Very uncharacteristic; they usually go ingroups, and fear being alone. He may have been seen, they have someintelligence. Its strange eyes turn toward him. How strange thesecreatures look, their oblong faces disproportionate to their skinnybodies. This young one only stands and stares, and he stares back. Helooks into the deep brown eyes, slightly slanted, framed by a dark brownface with fur on its head that reaches down the sides. He loses himselfin those oblong spheres, glittering and perhaps holding the potentialfor some greater understanding. He reaches for that hidden meaning, andfeels a brief intimacy. Even as he tries to learn the secrets of thiscreature's life, his own lay bare to the other.

A screech risesfrom the edge of the crowd, and the creature turns and runs in itsstrange loping gait. He watches the creature leave, noting its youthfulinnocence and frailty. There is something about the youth of any race.But how strange, he thinks, to almost see a spark of intelligence in theyoung one's dark eyes.

He lets his eyelids close, and immerseshimself in their world, pretending to be one of them. To feel theirfreedom, to bring himself to their amazing height, and to mingle freelywith their kind. He feels their carefree lives. He feels the thrill theymust, moving around without need or purpose. He dreamt of their homes,illogical things, much higher than necessary and a waste of time andspace, but which still capture his imagination with their grandeur. Whydo they spend so much time building, only to knock them down, hewonders. To be one of them ...

He almost feels sorry for them andtheir ignorance of the truths of life as they race around, involved onlyin the little experiences they imagine. Food is always available, somegift of nature. They don't know the meaning of struggle. He drownshimself in their simple lives, and becomes one of them, his eyes joiningthose of the little one who ran away. To be free ...

A crash ofthunder breaks his reverie, and rain trickles from the clouds overhead.The crowd begins to dissipate, as if they fear nature's rain. Withinminutes only a few remain, pushing things with their strange forearms.It all seems random to him, but he realizes even their games end. But hehas work to do. There is no time for idle daydreaming. For a fleetingmoment he had wished he was one of them, and could live without theconstant worries of feeding his family and making a living. His lifecould be spent in the ignorant bliss of these beautiful, odd creatures.In the back of his head, he wonders if these creatures ever wish to besomething, someone else. He spreads his wings, looks to the ocean andstarts his long flight home, leaving behind the white beach, theswarming crowds and embracing the path the dark clouds hold.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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