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The Yellow Bird
Sable stared at the old pare of shoes sitting on the floor.
They were her mother’s and she had taught her everything she knew in them, but now that her mother was gone, that which is knowledge and belongings of her mother’s was hers to keep. She slipped them on slowly dreading the journey she was due that morning. The day was damp, faces were grey, and she stood there in rags nevertheless happy to have covered feet.
She had to speak with the doctor. She had never seen him before and she hardly knew where she was going but her father was so ill she had to take slim chances. Sable’s father, Mark, was growing very pale. Sable didn’t know much but it was obvious that loss of color was serious. Sable walked by many buildings and many blocks but there were only banks and umbrella shops, but finally on the one-hundredth and seventy second block, she found a hanging sign that whacked against the wind that said: Doctor Risen with a yellow bird carved below it. She made haste to the bell of the door. An old woman, with a nose like a small beet, answered the door. “Yes? Can I help you?” she said, eyeing Sable’s shoes. “I came for the Doctor.” Squeaked Sable. She felt a bit nervous at that moment. “Well, naturally dear.” The old woman replied. “The Doctor is a very busy man, but if you need him, well, maybe you can see him.” Sable smiled with sincere gratefulness.
Then abruptly the woman slammed the door. Sable shivered as she gazed down the road from which she came. The street was packed with people, bare feet on the rain soaked street. The day was a grey one, like the day before it, and the street, houses and sky were like a charcoal painting. In a minute or so the woman was back and she told her to come in. The wet girl was shown a long dark hall and was told that the Doctor’s door was at the very end. The chattering of Sable’s teeth echoed though the cold marble hall and she was only able to see the walls and the doors next to her.
Finally she stopped to see a door significantly in front of her. She went in; it was lit with what seemed to be…sunshine and the room was filled with the sound of chirping. Sable squinted but gradually could see that she was surrounded by cages: small to large, covering table and floor, and the ceiling as well. It was beautiful, and she hadn’t seen the sun in many years. Some birds would fly about their cages, hitting the top then trying the bottom. Others would humbly sit on their perches, but more than that they would stare at themselves in a mirror like they could look at themselves all day. Footsteps came behind her and she turned around to see a young man dressed in white, he looked a bit unshaven, and he had very nice shoes.
“I keep them here.” He began, his voice sounding like an old friend. “They are normally free to go where they please, but today I thought you should see them the way I do. When they think their caged from what they really want but really they’re in the safest sort of place.” He paused for a moment. “I and only I can give them the freedom they long for.” He was smiling at Sable. Without taking his gaze off the little girl, he snapped his fingers, all cages disappeared from sight and the birds joyfully flew though the golden air. “This is the normal way they live, in everlasting joy, never shedding a tear, or breaking a wing. I love them caged or not.”
He smiled at her again then glanced down at her worn shoes though his glasses. “So, your father is ill, correct?” The girl nodded and gazed at him in knowledge she didn’t have before: that he was more than a merciful man, and what man was capable of that? “Well then, I will have to pay him a visit. He was already walking with her to the door. They walked down the street, through the grey. People stared at the man’s shoes and the little girl’s also. His shoes did not seem to get wet walked without saying a word. When they reached the house Sable showed him in and closed the door against the wind. The musky shack smelled of vomit and walking deeper into the house they found a boney white man lying in her father’s bed.
The Dr. asked if her could have a private talk with him. She nodded and went into the small room next door. With every drip of water from the ceiling she knew her father would die. Her father had no shoes so when the Doctor told her to come back in she took her mother’s old shoes off and fitted them around her father’s pale feet. She could not get them on all the way. She pushed and fought but not until her father helped her did the shoes fit and with the strength he had left he wore those ragged shoes.
The Doctor looked like he could sing for joy.
Hours passed and Sable had no left her father’s side. Then it came. Sable felt the breath of her father running short. She kissed his cheek, and resting her face on the edge of the bed, she cried. Dr. Risen came over to Mark’s side. Sable could feel her father no longer and looked to see the Dr. holding a bright yellow bird, its head poking out of his leathery hands. He stepped out the door with the bewildered girl still knelt by the bed. The shoes lay on the bed with a note. It said: “Remember to always share your shoes.”
Her father and mother were in a place of eternal sunshine.