When she was born the world shrunk a little smaller as they peered in the window to see what she would do. Horses stopped their galloping to turn and sniff the air. Taxis made wrong turns, piling up curbside at the foot of her house. Even a parakeet stole out of its cage making its way to the wailing baby’s side like a magnet returning to its source. It was a blustery, violent sort of Spring eve, the trees outside her house rustling and shaking and quivering in fear. But the parakeet held on with his determined little claws, waiting for a way in, to complete what he set out to do.
The window was open a mere moment when the little guy landed his feather-strewn body on its ledge. And as soon as he saw the new born babe kicking and screaming in its crib, he started to sing. He sang as he had never sung before, a parakeet symphony worthy of applaud. But all they could do was stare. And blink. And stare some more. Especially when the angry babe found herself lullabyed to sleep. By a bird! A vagrant bird!
* * *
Such was her entry.
Now for her exit.
* * *
Most nights I would slip into the depths of my dreams with a bit of moon lighting my way. Maybe a mystic sliver, maybe a thin ray of ribbon, or maybe just a quiet little glisten on the raindrops. It didn’t really matter to me. I just knew she was there to guide me. To guide me to my dreams.
This night though, the darkness hovered and hissed until it rested its weary head like a heavy burden on top of my quiet, gentle home. We were blanketed in black. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t find my way. I tossed and turned. Swallowed and sighed. And just as I started to dissolve into sleep…
I felt electrocuted, throwing myself onto the phone.
“Hello,” I whispered, out of breath.
“She’s dead. Your mother is dead.”
But I knew my mother was in her room, asleep.
“Pops?” I said to my grandfather, “This is Brynne. Are you ok?” My hand was shaking. My toes already frozen with cold hard fear.
“She’s dead.” His voice quivered and shook. “Your grandmother is dead.”
I dropped the phone and ran.
Ran to my sweet mom.
I ran to the only place I knew my grandmother might still be. To the parakeet’s cage in the corner of windows overlooking the garden downstairs.
But I was too late. She had already been there. Already invited him to sing her way home just as she had when she was born. His feather-strewn body lay lifeless. Gone was his spunk. Gone was his song. But his spirit, that spirit that had lived in so many parakeets over my grandmother’s life? That--had multiplied. Multiplied and morphed and molded itself into a story. This story. And like most good stories, it was shared.