01 Feb Everyday i’m visited by two birds
They were there ever since I could remember. As a child, I would awaken to the soft chirping of birds filling my room. I would rustle in my blanket until I was falling the two that sang to me, perched on the window-sill. I’d lay in bed until their song was over and I was able to start my day, but their song carried more than just a pretty tune, they brought me predictions.
One of the birds was a dove, its beautiful snow-white feathers caught the light of the sun so gracefully. It’s bright blue eyes, deeper than any ocean, would observe me as I listened to its song. The dove always sang first and within its song, would be the prediction of something good that would happen in my life.
The birds didn’t actually say anything but when their song reached my eardrums the predictions acted like memories. I could recall things that happened that day, even though they hadn’t happened yet.
The other bird was a raven. Its ruffled feathers were darker than the spaces between the stars and seemed to soak up the sun. It has beady red eyes that reminded me of the blood moon. After the dove was done the raven would sing when its song reached me I would have a memory of something bad that was going to happen that day.
No one ever believed me about the birds. I would try to call my parents into the room as they were singing but my parents never saw them. Even if they were in the room at the same time, so my parents started referring to them as imaginary friends. Since no one else ever saw these birds I started to believe them. It didn’t matter what I believed though, the birds would continue to visit me like clockwork and tell their tales.
Their predictions always came to pass. When I was younger the predictions were simple and generally innocent. Like when the Dove sang that the school would be serving pizza for lunch and the Raven retorted that I would get a papercut in math class. Sure enough, I would walk to school and at lunch, I’d be given two slices of pizza. I’d be so content from lunch that I would carelessly pull my textbook from my backpack and a loose page would slice my finger open.
It just goes to show you how simple middle school really was, even back then ‘bad news’ wasn’t typically that bad, the cut hurt but it healed in no time. The Dove even told me the next morning that I’d get ice cream for being such a brave little girl, the Raven said I’d forget my pencils at home.
Even if the predictions were things I could easily alter, I never seemed to be able to. Like the day I just mentioned, I made a note to grab my favorite pencil before I left. I was so focused on remembering to do it that eventually, I sort of just thought I did until I got to school and discovered no pencils in my backpack.
As I grew older I came to understand that what the birds considered to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ news was relative to my outlook. For example, when I moved with my family and was forced to attend a new high school two years into my high school education, I was a bit of an outcast. You know the story, new kid in school becomes the target of ridicule from the queen bee. This Queen was named Casey Matthews and I grew to hate Casey.
One morning I sat up in bed and listened to the day’s news. When I heard that Casey Matthews was going to fall in Gym I was a bit surprised. I thought it was weird that the Raven went first as the Dove always took the lead. When I turned to the birds however, the Raven had just started its song and told me that I got a failing grade on the science test. I didn’t want to think I was the type of person who would relish in another’s pain so I dismissed it as a fluke.
I had done worse than just getting a failing grade on my test, I had gotten the lowest score in the class and was called out by the teacher for it. I could hear Casey snickering to her friends at the other end of the room. It put me in such a foul mood as we shuffled off the gym-class, we had to play basketball, something I was no good at.
Everyone was running back and forth as I slowly paced from one end of the court to the other, I was watching Casey like a hawk. I wasn’t even thinking of the prediction, I was just so fed up with her attitude. Even as everyone was trying to play the game she mocked some of the heavier students all while barely participating. She caught me looking at her and I shot her a fake smile, she rolled her eyes and turned away. As she turned the basketball whipped by her head and while it didn’t hit her, it did throw her off balance.
I watched as Casey Matthews frantically attempt to keep herself upright but only managing to make the fall even worse. Her legs flew out from under her and even though she was able to put her hands in front of her face, the meeting between her face and the ground was audible throughout the large room. I couldn’t help but genuinely beam at the event, biting my lip to stifle the laughter that was trying to crawl out. A few of the students ran over to help her up and when they pull her face from the floor thin trails of blood trickled from her nose.
Even from where I was standing I could tell it had broken and would create a nasty yellow bruise all over her face. That made me happy, the Dove knew it was something worth singing about, Casey Matthews, was a bitch.
Up until now, I have kept the appearances of my birds to myself, ever since my parents labeled them as imaginary. Lately, however, I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the songs they have been singing to me. Just about a month ago I lost my mother to an extensive battle with cancer, I knew before I even left the bedroom that she had died. The Raven made sure of that. What did the Dove sing for that day? That my mother was no longer going to suffer. Guess one event can carry multiple weights.
After she passed, I and my dad tried to carry on, it was hard to live life without her but we decided she wouldn’t want us to dwell. The birds were kind to me, The Dove would sing of something grand that would take place, like my uncle taking me on a short road trip. The Raven’s song would carry only small irritations, like getting something stuck in my teeth. I needed time to heal and the birds knew that.
Until my father got sick too. Only two weeks after my mom had passed her started going in and out of consciousness and had to be hospitalized. I was so angry, I am still so angry. I couldn’t understand why I would have to lose one parent only to watch the other start to fade. I became bitter from all of this and would lay in bed, clutching the fabric of my sheets and when I woke in the morning I would hear the birds singing. The Dove would sing to me that 4,307 people were going to die in a car accident that day.
I was shocked that this is something that the Dove would tell me until the Raven informed me that dad had to spend another week in the hospital. I’d have to suffer another week without my dad at home but he wouldn’t be driving home that day like he was supposed too. The news boiled down to “A lot of people are going to die today, but your dad won’t”. The way it was delivered is what worried me and it only got worse.
The next morning the Dove told me that I would get a present in the mail and I was pleased that the Dove’s song was actually pleasant. The Raven, however, informed me that I wasn’t the only thing that could hear their songs. I was perplexed but I couldn’t do anything about it, I can’t converse with the birds, I can only listen. I wondered why that would be bad news.
When I went to leave the house I saw the present the Dove mentioned sitting right outside the front door. A small package poorly wrapped in hideous green and blue paper that was dotted with various snowflakes. I brought the gift inside and pulled the paper away from the box, sliding a knife through the tape that held it shut I revealed the contents.
I stood for a while looking at the snow white feather that laid on the brown cardboard, a feather that held the light of the sun with a familiar grace. The day flew by, I could only think about the songs I heard in the morning, about what else was listening to the songs. I became so concerned that something was invading this moment that I thought, made me special. These birds were mine and no one else was supposed to listen to them. I wanted to get home, I wanted to sleep so I could try to get more information from their songs.
With the help of a few sleeping pills, I was able to get to bed earlier than usual, my dreams were vivid. They were of the dark, but the dark was made from the feathers of the Raven, they danced by me and tickled my face until I sprang up in my bed. Immediately I turned to the birds sitting on the window as the Dove began to sing. It told me that I was going to live to see another morning and the Raven informed me that, it was getting closer.
I got up from my bed and started walking towards the window but as I approached the birds took off and vanished from my view. I stood and watched out of my window, the world was unmoving like nothing wanted to earn my ire. Looking down at the window-sill I observed something I had never noticed before. The tips of my fingers ran over the small grooves that had been etched into the wood by the birds taking off and landing every day. I knew then that they weren’t just something from my head, the birds are tangible but other people just don’t see them.
Foolishly, I had forgotten that the news the birds deliver to me is based on my state of mind and what’s relevant to me. So as I continued to stress over what the Raven was referring to, they continued to sing about it. The Dove was right, I’d live to see another morning, several in fact. Another few days went by and no here I am.
In the past few days, the songs went something like this. The Dove sang that I wouldn’t have to water the garden. Which was true, the rain that day did it for me. The Raven told me that It was going to find me that day. I don’t know if that played out but the Raven was no liar.
The next day, the Dove told me that my dad was going to call. He did, he told me how proud of me he was and that he hopes he gets well enough to come home soon. The Raven sang to me, while I was fidgeting with the feather that had been delivered to me. That I was going to forget to lock the back door. Which, I regrettably did. When I left the room after those songs I walked downstairs to find tracks of mud all through the house leading to my door.
I couldn’t decide on what the tracks were, they didn’t look like anything a human could leave behind but the path it took didn’t seem like an animal. It ignored the garbage, dirty dishes in the sink and the fridge. All things I assume a scavenger would be interested in. I couldn’t figure out why it had stopped at my door. I still don’t know.
Yesterday, the Dove sang to me and told me that it- the Dove told me that it would always watch over me. The Raven said that they couldn’t protect me. The birds didn’t leave the window for a while after their songs. They just kept chirping away, like they wanted me to remember what they sounded like.
All of yesterday, I did my best to be productive. I went to see my dad, we talked for a long time and he asked about the birds. He asked me what they said would happen. I told him they didn’t really say anything too special. He laughed, and then he asked me about the dog. For a minute I was confused, I thought possibly his mind was wandering so I pressed about it.
He told me that before I told them about the birds at my window, I would wake them up crying every night about the dog in my room. He couldn’t remember how I described it with my limited vocabulary, only that it was as horrific as a child could make it. He told me he and mom would console me every night.
I started to remember as he went over the details, the memory playing in my head as if sung by the birds. The black pajamas my dad would wear, the white flowing gown mom wore to bed, how I would run to their room every night. How they both held me and told me that they would always watch over me. My parents always tried their best to keep me safe, my mom taught me to see the brighter side of things and my dad, always stern, taught me the negatives were important too.
After my mother passed away, the birds started to get weaker and with my dad’s fading health, I just don’t think their songs are loud enough anymore. I left the hospital and returned home to finish cleaning the house. Every inch of it spotless. As I sat in my room last night and watched out the window I could see it in the yard looking back at me.
I understood why as a child I called it a dog. That was probably all I could come up with and even now I don’t know what else to call it. I couldn’t see it too well in the dark but whatever it is was hunched over on all fours but its body was large and looked to have scraps of skin peeling off of it. The things eyes were yellow and glowing like spotlights, I’m glad I didn’t have to see it in great detail.
I wanted to write this all down before it gets too dark, this morning I woke up and listened to the songs my birds sang to me. I tried not to spend all day in bed, I tried to think of some way to go against the predictions but it’s never worked before. So I did my best to make peace and try to get down what I could, put it out there. I called my dad and told him I loved him and now here I am. The songs playing in my head over and over.
The Raven sang to me that the creature would be in my room tonight like it had been when I was a child.
The Dove told me, that I would be with my mother, once more.