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Because I Saw the Black Birds Fly

User Contributed

"Why are you crying?" you ask me.

I sat sideways on my dining chair and propped my left hand on the back like an armrest. 

Amidst the conversation with my family, I caught the smooth aerial swerve of a small flock of birds through the window. They were just a handful, four, five and then eight. All of them twirling like little black ashes in the sky almost in sync, but not quite. One of them had flown off on its own, but the rest were joined by a few more from another group. 

I felt unexpectedly sad. 

The pale yellow sky dotted with dancing black birds recalled an older memory from my childhood. In my old house, behind those grilled windows. I was six or younger. I remembered the dark blue evenings that coloured my tiny heart with remorse. I would stare beyond the grills and watch the black birds flit from tree to tree. Sometimes they would gather in a bunch and tumble across the sky. Sometimes they would disappear altogether. But they looked like they were having fun. A sense of melancholia grew as the sky steadily seeped with ink, spreading its arms slowly from the edges towards the horizon. 

Evenings often came with sadness and I found my minute heart heavy with contemplation. I was sad that the day was almost over.  Without the lights on, the hall grew dull and grey. My big brown and fat television sat mute. It made a loud zap whenever I turned it on and while the frame was black, the sides were brown plastic lacquered with swirls that mimicked a wooden surface. I could hear the sounds of children playing at the playground just out of sight. I was sad in my empty quiet house.

Now, when I look at the spinning specks of soot, gracefully gliding, I become six again. My heart becomes tiny almost unbreathable, and my lungs pump a bit too quickly...

"Why are you crying?" you ask me.

I turned to look at you, slightly amazed that you are there. You reach out your hand to touch mine. 

Because I saw the black birds fly, I thought. 

"I don't know," I heard myself reply.