If you ever read this blog: thank you, Matthew, for your help, advice, patience and kindness.
The birds are the only animals capable of plunging into the void and avoid a deadly fall. She and her mother play watching them. She looks at them carefully and, inquisitive, she asks her mother lots of questions.
“Mummy, that bird! Bird!”
“That bird? Do you like it?”
“Yes, yes! What’s its name?”
“It’s a sparrow. There are always many of them here.”
“I want one! Can I catch it?”
“No, Mar. The sparrows are difficult to catch. We cannot catch the birds that live in freedom.”
“Why not? It’s really beautiful! If we catch it and we have it at home, nothing bad will happen to him!”
“But Mar, if we cage the birds that have lived in liberty, they will die of grief.”
“And that? What’s that?”
“That big and black one.”
“That is a raven! How weird! It’s not usual to find them in a city… Hurry up, let’s close the window! It’s about to rain and I still have to make lunch. If you want, you can make a drawing to give to your father.”
“Yes, mum! I’ll draw a sparrow!”
She remained observing the raven and watching the black clouds coming. She made a drawing that looked clearly like a sparrow and left it on the table to give it to her father when he arrives.
He did not take long to arrive. Immediately after, he asked if the dinner was already cooked and mumbled when he saw that it was not made. When she heard him, the mother speeded up finishing the lunch.
Mar heard her father and instantly, with a smile in her lips, she took the drawing.
“Daddy! I’ve made a drawing for you! Look, I’ve left a space there for you. You can draw whatever you want. So, it will be ours!”
“Oh! It’s a sparrow, isn’t it? I know what I can draw. Can I do it here? ”
“It lacks a cage. All the birds have a cage, haven’t they?”
The mother turned round and looked at him. Mar, with confusion, said:
“But if you cage them, they die of grief!”
“Who has told you this stupid thing? Animals don’t die of grief. They don’t have any feelings. We have to cage them to prevent them from running away. Thus, we keep other people from taking them away.”
Mar looked at her mother but she turned round again to continue making the lunch.
He drew a cage upon the bird and hung the drawing up on the refrigerator.
On Saturdays, Mar makes cookies. She likes making pieces and going to the park to give them to the pigeons. However, it has been some days since she has been there. Her mother says the pigeons have left, that they are not in the park. Mar is clever and she knows that the pigeons always come if there is food around.
“Perhaps they didn’t like the cookies”, she thought while she was looking through the window.
“What are you doing, Mar? Come and let’s make cookies!”
“Cookies? Have the pigeons come back?”
The smell of the cookies came out of the window. Mar made them with excitement to give them to the pigeons of the park. But, deep down, she knew that for some strange reason they will never come back.
They had told her in the school that pigeons are dirty birds and some people poison them in order to make them disappear. Mar did not understand what they meant by “in order to make them disappear”. “This means that they will never come back”, she thought sadly.
“The cookies are ready! Come on, let’s put them on the table because your father will come home soon!”
Both of them set the table for lunch and put the cookies out for dessert.
The father, however, did not appear. It was not the first time it had occurred so the mother did not think about ringing him. She told Mar to have lunch, while she put the food in the oven.
“And the cookies?”, said Mar.
“Eat them or put them in the fridge. But you know that your father doesn’t like them.”
“Where is Dad?”
“He’s working, Mar. Go play in your room.”
Mar is a child about seven or eight years old. Her hair is blonde or brown, depending on the light. She is cheerful and sprightly. She likes drawing, playing with cars and dolls and she likes especially keeping her mother from being sad. Often, she makes drawings in front of the dining room’s window.
The sparrow is still on the refrigerator and Mar decides to start a new drawing.
“I’ll draw pigeons”, she thinks carefully.
“And they’ll eat cookies! They’ll realize that I thought about them and they will come back! Sure!”
“Mar! Help me to hang out the clothes. When you finish the drawing, we’ll go to the park with the neighbours”.
The clock struck six in the afternoon. The day was cloudy and a storm was predicted. Mar and her mother go out to the park with their neighbour and his children. Guillem has been divorced for some time and he lives with her three-year old daughter and his eight-year old son. It has been a long time since they went to the park together. Several minutes before they go out the door, the father appears.
“Where are you going?”
“To the park! We’ll give cookies to the pigeons!”
“You know I don’t like pigeons.”
“Mar, go with our neighbour.”
Mar goes out and watches with the little Anna and
“Where are you going?”
“We are going to the park, to walk for a while.”
“I don’t like him. You know that I don’t like him.”
“Who? I need to stretch out my legs and Mar likes going to the park.”
“Why don’t we go home?”, he says taking her hand.
“No, Mar wants to go to the park. I’ve promised her.”, she says moving her hand away violently.
“Ah!”, Anna mutters.
“Are they playing a hand clapping-game? What are they saying? I can’t recognize the song”,
“Let her go with your neighbour.”, he says.
“No. I want to get some fresh air too.”
“Come on, let’s go.”
“Yes, I know the song!”, Mar says and comes into the entrance way.
“Mum, are you coming? It’s been a long time, they are waiting for us!”
The mother comes out of the entrance way and they begin making their way to the park.
“What’s wrong, Mum?”
“Nothing, it’s a bit cold here.”
“Do you want to go back and pick up your jacket?”, Guillem says.
“No, there’s no need. I’m fine, thanks.”, she says drawing a smile.
Her eyes, however, do not lie. On the way to the park, she knows that it was not right to have left and was terrified thinking of the return.
“Mum, can I stay at Guillem’s house tonight?”
“You have to go to school tomorrow”.
“Don’t worry. She can come with us. This way you can have a rest”, Guillem says.
Once they have returned from the park, Mar goes to sleep at her neighbours’ house and her mother goes to her home.
“Sleep well, Mummy!”
“Behave yourself, ok? You are having lunch at school tomorrow. Don’t forget! But call me, ok? I’ll pick you up tomorrow afternoon and if you don’t have much homework, we’ll go to park because today hasn’t been a good day.”
“Yes! Give this to the Dad, please!”, Mar said as she gave the pigeon’s drawing to her mother.
“Yes, good night! Behave yourself!”
The door closed and she started looking for the keys in her bag. She became nervous immediately and, suddenly, there was a lightning. Then, thunder was heard in the whole building. The storm had arrived and it had no intentions of leaving. She continued looking for the keys. She felt a shiver shuddering through her body. Motionless, looking at the door, she was frightened. She had a lump in her throat and a strong anxiety pressed her chest so she could not breathe easily.
Once she found the keys, she tries to open the door but the key breaks. The piece remains inside and the rest of it is on the floor. There is no alternative but to ring the bell. The bell, however, does not work. Furious, she gives a deadly knock to the door and it opens. She remains surprised for a moment in front of the door. She does not hear anything inside the flat. Slowly, like a burglar, she makes some footsteps and goes through the door. She checks, like a policewoman, every corner. She closes silently the door and walks stealthily to the kitchen. The drawing of the refrigerator has fallen. She sees it and bends over to pick it up. But a breeze of wind, which has entered through the window, displaces the sparrow drawing some metres. Crawling, she arrives where the sparrow drawing stopped and takes it. While she is looking at the drawing, she notices something in front of her. For a moment she thinks the wind has blown in another object. Immediately, she realizes that she is wrong. They are feet. She recognizes them easily and a shudder runs through her body again. The hands, which are holding the drawing, change their colour progressively. They have become pale, as whitish as a corpse.
The darkness has left and the sun insists on making its own way. She is not able to move by herself. Her eyes weigh heavily, her legs force themselves to continue stretched and her arms remain immobile. She manages to open her eyes and she sees herself lying in the floor. Suddenly, a series of images startle her.
“A dream? Sure, for a moment I thought it was real”, she thinks.
She laughs soothed. It is difficult for her to stand up. She tries but her legs do not respond and her arms do not have enough strength. She begins to feel scared and crawls to the bathroom.
With an impulse she manages to hold on to a piece of furniture in the bathroom and she stands up. She finds herself in front of the mirror and cries out as if a ghost has gone through her. She realizes it is not the first time she has seen that face. The noise of the telephone wakes her up.
“Hello?”, she says with a bitter voice.
“Mum, this is me! I’m ringing from the school! Mummy?”
“Yes, I’ll pick up you when you finish.”
“How are you?”
“Nothing, I’m a bit tired. I’ll see you then.”
She goes to the school to pick Mar up and they leave to the park
“Mum, today is not sunny.”
“No, neither yesterday nor today. The storm that broke out yesterday doesn’t seem to have the intention of leaving.”
“Don’t worry, Mum. The sun will come back soon”, she smiles.
“Yes. I will be able to wear these glasses without people looking at me badly”, she thinks and smiles shyly.
They come back home and Mar is surprised. The drawing of the sparrow on the refrigerator is half torn and the one of the pigeon is in the entrance, torn in half completely.
“The drawing! Why is it torn? Has Dad been…? The pigeons will never come back!”
Days and weeks pass.
“Mum, tomorrow is Dad’s birthday.”
“Yes, I know it.”
“Will we make a cake for him? A recipe was given to me at school the other day.”
“Ok, whatever you want.”
“Can we draw a pigeon of chocolate?”
“Your father doesn’t like them.”
The following day the father arrives home. The table is set and the cake is in the centre. However, there is only one plate and a spoon. Mar and her mother are on the balcony
“Mum! A swallow has fallen down here!”
“Yes, I see it! This means Spring is here!”
“No more storms?”
“I don’t know”.
“But it has fallen down. What can we do?”
“It has large wings. Do you see them stuck to the ground? It can’t fly at this way. You must hold it and throw it to the wind.”
“It will fall down!”
“No, it will spread its wings and fly on its own.”
The father approaches to the table and smells the cake. He takes the spoon and a piece of cake. He has taken the pigeon’s head. Mar looks at him with the swallow in her hands.
“Mum, Dad has arrived and he’s eating the cake!”
“It’s true. Let’s go!”.
“No, no! I’ve made it just for him. It’s his birthday”.
The mother looks at her disconcertedly. Mar throws the swallow to the wind and it spreads its wings and flies away. The father does not realize and continues eating the cake. Mar laughs, like she would never be able to stop.
“Spring has come! Everything will be alright Mum, you’ll see it”.
“Yes, tomorrow will begin a new day”.
The father continues eating the cake. Mar looks at her mother with complicity, Spring has arrived.