[Written as a birthday present for a very precious little boy, this is the first of a three-part story.]
“Screeeeeeech!” went the car tyres angrily, as they were forced to halt. “Silly crow!” glared the lady inside, her eyes sparking behind the wheel. Jeremy hopped to the pavement as briskly as he could, and stood there, head cocked to one side. The dust from the retreating tyres tickled his nose and tears pricked his deep black eyes. Brushing them away with one feathery wing, he busied himself with some berries on the ground and tried not to think about the sad feeling in his heart.
Jeremy had been born in the perfect curve of a dish antenna, a squawking, ragged bundle among his brothers and sisters. His early days were perfect: warm, wet and milky, as he huddled close to his Mamacita and slept soundly. As time rolled by, like the big construction trucks that often passed their nest, Jeremy’s siblings began to stretch their wings. First, just a little. Then, some more. More, more, a little further, until they were ready to attempt their first flight. Taking their positions, they steadied their gangly feet, craned their necks, stretched out their wings and looked eye-poppingly eager. “Now!” said Mamacita, waving a leaf to signal “go”, and one by one, they cleared the rim of the satellite dish and found themselves flapping furiously in mid-air. Jeremy waited in line patiently, a little nervous about the prospect of leaving home.
Finally, when it was his turn, Mamacita looked over at him, smiled and said “Now!” He swallowed hard and spread his wings. His scrawny legs wobbled as he stood on tip-toe and craned his neck as far out as he could. He strained his eyes some more in the hope that he’d see beyond the curved grey of the dish. It was no use. He was confronted by a formidable wall of steel and would have to fly higher than its rim. Flapping tentatively, he levitated about mid-way. Gaining momentum, he worked hard to move skyward and finally, the rim fell below his eyes.
The world parted its curtains for Jeremy. In that one instant, he saw great white towers and shiny cars with wheels as dark as his body and children chasing a striped ball and trees waving green flags, telling him he could do it. Sunshine patted his thin little neck and far away he could hear a flute singing. Jeremy couldn’t believe his bulging eyes. Oh to think he almost didn’t leave Mamacita’s home! As time stood still, so did his wings. And the next thing Jeremy knew, he had crashed back into the dish, his leg twisted at a strange angle, a sharp pain searing through it.
(to be continued…….)