My surroundings blur with the tears that fill my eyes. I run, run far away from the laughing children and the blackish blue feathers that litter the ground. I left the house knowing that going to the park would result in my torment, but I thought that maybe, just maybe, they would leave me alone for once. I stop running when I realize I have reached the woods. As I slump against a tree, I am careful to avoid injuring my wings anymore than I already have. I turn my head slightly to inspect the damage. There is a small clump of feathers missing, and it seems to be bleeding a bit. Oh, well. At least I can still fly, unlike last time, when I was stuck on the ground for a whole week. Sighing, I stand back up. I need to return home as nightfall is approaching, and since I would rather not go past the park again, I turn to the sky.
I quickly scale the tree I had been leaning against. When I reach the top I unfold my wings slowly, letting them get used to the movement. If I leave them folded up for too long, they get stiff. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and jump. It takes singular heart-pounding second before the wind catches in my outstretched wings, and I begin to soar. The ten minutes to reach my house is too short, as the moment I land I feel the longing to be in the sky again set in. I creep into my home as stealthily as I can, hoping that he won’t hear me.
“Naiomi, that you?” I hear from the living room, mixed with the sounds from our small TV.
“Yes, Father, it’s me”, I reply, wondering who else he would think it was.
“Make yourself useful then, and bring me a drink!” He yells, before returning to his sports game he was watching. I sigh, and walk to kitchen, wishing all he wanted was a soda. As I reach into the refrigerator to retrieve the alcoholic beverage that drains my father’s personality every swig, I wonder if he will remember that it’s my birthday. I’m torn between wanting him to remember so I know he cares, or wanting him to forget so as not to get that yearly rant from him about how it’s all my fault my mother died. Wincing at the very thought, I quickly walk into our shabby living room, and lightly set his drink down next to him.
He barely looks up as I turn to leave, but his arm shoots out to grab my wrist at the last second. Turning to see what he wants now, I see something in his eyes I can’t quite put my finger on. He releases me, awkwardly clears his throat, and says “I left a present on your bed, you should check it out.” Without another word he turns back towards the TV.
Shocked, I leave the room to ascend the single flight of stairs that lead me to my room. By the time I reach my room, the tears are free flowing again. Confusion is all I feel when I flop down on the bed, and I roll over to inspect the small, rectangular box wrapped in blue paper with a black velvet bow on top. Carefully, I unwrap the present, to reveal a box the is as black and velvety as the bow that sat on top on of it. Sliding the lid off of the box, a silky white interior is exposed. But the thing that makes me gasp in awe is not the beauty of the box itself, but the blue-bird pendant that hangs from a silver chain. I bring one shaking hand to my face, as the other picks the necklace up to get a better view.
One of the only things I remember hearing about my mother, was from my aunt, who told me that my mom used to call me her “little blue-bird” when she was pregnant. According to my aunt, she called me that because she said I would have a beautiful singing voice when I got older. Little did she know, I would have another, glaring similarity with the small creature.
I gently clasp the necklace around my neck, and climb out of my window onto the roof. I take a few steps back, before taking a running leap off of the building. My wings expand when they hit the open air, and I take my place back in the sky. I keep going until I reach my destination; the woods. I land with soft thud and begin to pace back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
“Are you alright, you look like you’ve been crying?” she inquires, slightly tilting her head.
“I’m fine,” I respond, a little too quickly to sound sincere. There is an awkward silence before her eyes dart to my neck.
“I like you necklace,” she compliments. I’m at a loss for words as she holds out her hand to me and says “I’m Kelly, by the way.” I eye her suspiciously, before smiling my first real smile in a long time, and taking her hand into my own.