Birds | #flashfiction

It was a brisk spring morning, not a sound but the birds in the sky. The birds sing to each other, a song I can’t quite understand, but it comforts me. It’s the sounds of the spring and summer, and they start bright and early.

I sit and I listen, and I wonder. I wonder what it means to matter, what it means to fly. I wonder why the birds sing in the morning and wake me, and I wonder why I leave my window cracked to let them. I guess it’s a sense of familiarity, that no matter where I’m waking up, there will be birds. They’ll wake me first thing and I’ll feel tired in the morning, but I’ll wake up after some coffee and eggs and toast.

I sit and I listen to the birds, and I notice the difference in their calls. Some are one same repetitive sound, some are intricate, and some are making it up as they go. Or at least it seems that way. They all have the same effect. It all wakes me before my alarm, and I can’t help but listen.

I sit and I listen, and I wonder what it’s like to fly like a bird. I wonder how it feels to glide with the breeze, this effortless instinct that could never come natural to me. I feel jealous of the birds, their lives feel so much simpler than mine.

I sit and I listen, and I imagine I am a bird. I close my eyes as I lay in bed and I pretend I am soaring high above the clouds, or down within the trees. I’m collecting twigs and trash for my nest and I’m singing for the people still asleep.

I wonder if birds feel loneliness. I think it must be easier to be a bird, even if they do feel lonely. To be a blue jay or a robin or maybe even a hawk. I wonder if birds feel lonely, what do they do? Do they go for a fly to take their minds off it? Do they find other birds to connect with? Is that why they sing and wake me? Because they feel the same loneliness I do, and they just want to belong.

I sit and I listen, and I know if I could fly, I wouldn’t feel this overwhelming isolation. If I could fly, if I were a bird, I could blend in, I could be a part of nature. I could migrate south in the winter and travel the world. I could be something bigger than I could ever be as a human. I could contribute to the ecosystem, instead of destroying it. I could matter. If I were a bird, if I could fly, I would matter.

at home in the mountains

It rained on the day we went up to the mountains. It rained and we stayed in our car for the most part, eating takeout from a nearby restaurant. We planned to eat it by the waterfall, but our sandwiches would’ve been soggy. We sat parked on a cliff-side, overlooking the mountains, the greens and reds and oranges and yellows of the treetops swaying gently with the breeze. We sat silent for a while as we took in the overwhelming feeling, the largeness of it all. We ate our takeout, but we didn’t feel worthy to be there in all the beauty. This moment was bigger than us. And I remember you said quietly and defiantly, “Someday, this will be home.”

The sunrise on our first morning living together

We told ourselves we wouldn’t care if the world ended. We said we wouldn’t care because we’d be spending our last moments with each other. And it was late, it was so late, but we couldn’t go to sleep yet, we had to be up for the sunrise. We promised ourselves we’d stay up and watch the sunrise together on our first night of living together. And we realized it was a silly idea, but we both took a week off work to get settled in our new apartment- which might’ve also been a silly idea, but we didn’t care.

We stayed up for the sunrise and we fell asleep right before it happened out our back window. We fell asleep on the couch around 5 am and didn’t wake until noon. We laughed about it when we woke up and realized we missed the sunrise. But we didn’t care. Our favorite show was paused on the living room TV while we got up and made breakfast.

You made a joke about missing the sunrise and I said it was a silly idea to begin with. I hadn’t been up that late since college, and you hadn’t since you started your first real job. You made pancakes and I made coffee. It wasn’t anything huge, but I felt closer to you than I ever had that morning. You resumed our favorite show and we spent the day unpacking while it played in the background. We were finally where we were meant to be.

“foolish,” you’ll say, and I’ll agree

And someday we’ll find ourselves in different places, in different homes, with different lovers and we’ll decide to reconnect. Maybe we’ll see each other on the street, or someone will mention something that reminds us of each other, and we’ll reach out and we’ll reconnect.

You’ll tell me about how you’re happier now than you ever thought you could be. I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to and you’ll listen. We’ll make jokes and remember what it was like when we were once so close. We’ll wonder why we ever drifted apart, conveniently forgetting what happened between us that day when we thought the world would end. And I remembered it for a while, and I cried for a while, but I got over it, and I got over you.

But it wasn’t like I didn’t think about you, and it wasn’t like I didn’t look for you when I went by your old house. You told me you moved two years ago. I’ll say, “has it really been that long?” and you’ll say, “it’s been six years, man.” And I’ll feel sad. And you’ll feel sad. And we’ll agree to stay in touch, but I’ll tell you I’m only in town this week then I’m going back to the city, and you’ll look at me like you’re proud, and I’ll feel like crying.

And in that moment, I won’t be able to even think about what broke us apart. I remembered us staying friends for a long time. And we were there for each other through everything. And somewhere along the way, we separated.

We’ll be reminiscing about our conversations and I’ll be surprised by how many details I remembered, and then I’ll remember that we stopped talking because of something so stupid and so trivial that I laugh out loud in the coffee shop. And you’ll ask me what I’m laughing for and I’ll tell you. And you’ll look at me, chuckle once, and shake your head.

“Foolish,” you’ll say, and I’ll agree.

Assumptions

Sometimes when I’m pouring my coffee, I like to imagine I’m a server at a small diner in the middle of nowhere. I’m getting that table of four their coffee first thing in the morning. They’ve clearly been up all night. Their rugged attire and laid-back attitudes had me assuming they’re musicians. No one around here had ever seen them before.

I brought them their coffee and asked if they were ready to order. The one wearing a leather jacket and smelled strongly of cigarettes turned to me with a flirtatious smile, I made another assumption that he was their lead singer.

“We’re ready.” He said kindly. I couldn’t make out his accent, but he definitely wasn’t from around here. It sounded southern. But this was upstate Maine, three hours from the nearest city.

I took their orders and their accents became more prominent. It was southern, no doubt. Maybe Kentucky or maybe Texas. I asked where they were from.

“I thought you’d never ask.” The charismatic lead singer said with a grin much too big. I didn’t trust him. He reminded me of my ex who would go on vacations with his friends and come back with more notches on his bedpost. I know it was unfair of me to assume this of him, but when you’ve been burnt like I have, it’s hard not to.

It was early. We had just opened. The rush hadn’t yet begun. Around here, the rush doesn’t start until 8. The table of four were the only ones in here besides a few older folks at the bar.

I watched the table of musicians talk among themselves. The radio being right next to me, I couldn’t make out what they were saying. All I could hear was melodies and an off-tune voice. I realized I never knew if they were musicians. I just assumed. I always assume. It’s how I stay safe.


This is just a little fictional piece I thought of this morning while making coffee, based on my bad habit of assuming things of people before I get to know them.

The Mountains and All They Can Cure

I left the house in a rush. In one burst of manic energy, I packed for a couple days. I was at the point where I couldn’t think about anything but getting away. Anywhere was better than here. In a perfect world, I would’ve thought for months about this trip, but the fact that I didn’t have a plan made it more exciting.

It felt like everything that happened these last few months, all the pain and exhaustion, it was all leading up to my break anyway. This was bound to happen. I wouldn’t consider it a break, but my best friend called it that when I showed up at her door with a text, “Hey. You’re coming with me. We’re going to the mountains.”

“You’re crazy,” was her answer. I wouldn’t have expected any less. She packed her bags and was down in fifteen. From the driveway, she looked insane. More insane than I was. Her black hair was put into a messy ponytail with flyaways illuminated by the midday sun. She wore a gray sweatshirt and black leggings. Her backpack, stuffed full of clothes and camping equipment, was a forest green and held her sleeping bag atop it.

“I need this more than you do.”

She told me that as she threw her backpack in the backseat of my SUV.

“Hold on, do you have a tent?”

I hadn’t thought of that.

“Uh, no. Don’t you?” I replied.

“My brother is using it this weekend.” She groaned. I rolled my eyes.

I wasn’t sure when it was that it set in that I was an insane, spontaneous person, but by the fourth hour of our road trip, it had crossed my mind a few times.  Emma loved me for it. She could always count on me for a last-minute mania induced trip in which we find ourselves, only to lose ourselves when we come back to work the following Monday.

We laughed. We laughed a lot. The entire drive was filled up with conversation, never a dull moment. Never a moment to think about just getting stood up or not getting that promotion I really could’ve used to fuel these trips. I didn’t think about the date I was supposed to go on until Emma had fallen asleep and as I laid on the hard ground, the only way to distract myself from the pain my back felt was by thinking about the pain my now-ex caused.

I realized a while ago that I shouldn’t let myself get wrapped up in someone like him, someone still obviously going through his partying college days even though he dropped out two years ago. I knew he was bad news, Emma tried to tell me, but I didn’t care. I liked the way he looked at me when I told a story, and I liked the way he laughed too long when I told a bad joke. I liked how his hair looked in the morning before he showered, and I liked how he’d cook breakfast for me.

I knew the mountains wouldn’t have an answer, and I didn’t care. It was a distraction at least and at most it would be another story to tell: two way-too-stressed 20-something’s go on another spontaneous trip in attempt to find themselves, only to find themselves with smaller bank accounts and bags under their eyes.

Lazy Day | Flash Fiction

The rain out my window holding me captive in my bed until it lets up. I toss and turn, but can’t bring myself to pull down the covers, afraid to introduce myself to the cold that is Not My Blankets. So, I pull them up to my shoulders, curl up into a ball, and fall back asleep once again. Time passes and suddenly it’s afternoon. Did I really spend all morning in bed? The rain has let up, but now I’m just groggy. A wave of uselessness takes over me and I force myself up.

I brew a cup of coffee and figure out ways to salvage this day. The grogginess never seems to disappear as I scroll through social medias and notifications from my lengthy sleep. I spend the rest of the day yawning, cursing myself for sleeping in, and not doing much of anything. But it’s good to have days like today, I reassure myself as I drift off to sleep again that night.