One Yellow Songbird | Teen Ink

One Yellow Songbird

November 28, 2008
By Anonymous

The sky was a cold, heartless shade of grey, perfectly suited for the dreary day. Sparse, brittle tree-limbs, long ago stripped of their leaves, groped for the sky, coming up just a bit too short. The vibrant, lively season of fall had come and gone, and the ornamental colors of pumpkins and the warm smells had vanished with it. The world hung suspended in that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where there is nothing but the biting wind to remind us that the seasons are changing.

I could feel that wind now as I soared at top speed through the heavens, darting in and out of the occasional tree. Below, on the dirt walkways, women in various shades of brown and grey swept off the majestic, wrap-around porches for which there was no use at this time of year, ridding them of their cobwebs. Children made fantastic creations from the large branches that lay piled haphazardly within the confines of the yard, fighting over which stick was what: Should the bigger one be sword, or the shield? The normally observant housecat could be found lazing in a patch of sunshine, opening one lethal, tiger’s eye as I flitted past.

Off the right, horses wandered aimlessly in the dried-up pastures, devoid of the bright colors and birdsongs of spring and summer as they melted into autumn. And there in the back, behind it all, lay the small, sandstone house. It was nothing more than a small cottage: Tan stone, with a charming garden out front, and a deep, emerald green vine creeping up the side. It was a humble, if stylish little building, with nothing to set it apart from all the others I had seen, save for one thing: This house, unlike the others, didn’t have the familiar wisp of smoke billowing from the chimney. To the contrary, the shutters in an upstairs room were flung wide open, letting in the chilling breeze. Interested, I couldn’t resist the urge to investigate so rare and strange a sight, and so, riding the current like a wave, I flew up to the windowsill and settled myself on its edge.

Two people sat in the small, square room, which, to my surprise, was completely empty. A middle-aged man, his brown hair already thinning and graying around the edges, was concentrating on the large canvas stretched out in front of him. Opposite him, on a tall kitchen chair, sat a striking young woman, her long, dark hair framing a stunningly beautiful face. Dark eyes, like liquid night, stared longingly out the window, and look of deep sadness etched into the lines of her face. She seemed to belong to another, happier time, lost in this short, miserable instant where joy doesn’t seem to exist.

Slowly, I opened my mouth, singing one high, melodious note that hung, quavering, in the cold air. The man dropped his paintbrush in surprise, staring open-mouthed at the last yellow songbird of the season. He turned back just in time to see the Mona Lisa’s smile.

The author's comments:
It's always interesting to take a part of history and imagine what would be different if just a small part of the story changed. We were studying Leonardo DaVinci when I wrote this...and I just started to wonder...what if.......

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This article has 6 comments.

Sr. A. said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 7:45 pm
Katie, Your work is inspiring and

enjoyable. Reading this story made me realize what a gifted and talented young lady you are. You are going places in the future and I look forward to reading more of your works!

Mrs. H said...
on Dec. 15 2008 at 2:10 am
Dear Katie, I am so proud of you! Imagery is awesome. You captured the moment and drew a picture with words. I'll be reading about you some day! God bless

MrO said...
on Dec. 12 2008 at 4:58 pm
It takes a developed talent to see the world through eyes other than your own then speak with the voice that goes with the eyes. Ihave shared this story with others as it is a fine story.

Deeser said...
on Dec. 11 2008 at 3:32 pm
Love this. I have it posted in my office so I can impress all the English teachers. You are very gifted. Keep writing.

marlavelle said...
on Dec. 11 2008 at 1:40 am
Katie I really enjoyed the surprise ending. Very creative!!

on Dec. 7 2008 at 4:46 pm
Katie, This story is awesome! People always talk about shifting the paradigm. did it. Congrats!