The Canary

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will which I now exert to leave you. ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

A fat yellow canary stretches its wings with the intention of preparing for a moment that will never come: free flight. Liberty. Escape.

The bird’s human is shaky. Her shoulders shake and shake and shake. It’s rather troubling, isn’t it?

Never mind. The blonde human continues stuffing things into a canvas sack as the canary edges closer to the window. He listens to his shrieking kin outside, whizzing between the trees like fleas. Oh, how he wishes the human would quiet her sniffling so he could eavesdrop on their barbaric conversations!

The human is grabbing everything around her to take along. She doesn’t seem to consider the canary though. This is worrying to say the least, as this particular human is quite nice. Her significant other doesn’t pay nearly as much attention to the canary as he would like, but would rather stumble about the house with an empty bottle in hand, yelling obscenities at flower pots.

No, the canary prefers this human. She lets him out of the cage sometimes, to flit about the living room before she captures him again, to stuff back into depressing paradise.

She has stopped now. She steps towards the window, the canary’s window next to his gilded cage, his only link to the world that his pea brain sometimes doubts actually exists.

She pushes open the window and breathes in. The world outside is immersed in a wash of turquoise and bulbs of yellow luminosity. The canary shudders when he hears a cat meow. His kin are suddenly silent.

She sighs, before looking at her pet.

“You are intelligent, chéri,” she cooes, stroking the cage, “but I must… escape this life. Je suis fatigué… je suis fatigué.”

She wears a drained expression, her dark eyebrows pulled together.

He chirps. Her puckered mouth shapes itself into a lopsided smile, before she opens the door of his cage. She then turns, grabs her bag from the floor, and flees the room. She’ll continue to flee until she returns to her own kin, in a distant land.

The canary regards the open cage door. Fear rocks his chubby body. His paper thin wings are suddenly heavy, and he wonders if he can ever really leave this wonderful, miserable haven. But the wilderness… it’s irresistible.

With this, he propels himself from the cage and out the window, the lace curtains shifting silently in his wake.

His fear is overcome by the ecstasy of freedom. Liberty. Escape.

He hears that cat meow again, and he knows that he will not survive for long. The turquoise world beyond will give way to lilac then navy then black, and he’ll not live to see the white brilliance of a new sun.

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However… he will have lived a life. He couldn’t have stayed back there, wondering, regretting what could have been.

This is free flight. Liberty.

Escape.

 

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