Nobody believed me; they just laughed or chose to ignore. “Poor little thing.” I could hear their hushed voices, “She’ll grow out of it, you’ll see.”
“It’s just a phase.”
I don’t remember the exact moment it started but to me it seemed the most natural thing in the world. For the first time since she’d died the world had started to make sense once more. They said it was my reaction to losing her- those whisper-voiced people who mistakenly thought I was unaware of their conversations. I heard each and every word.
It was the way they looked at me, or if I’m more precise, didn’t look at me that particularly grated. Never quite making eye contact, over earnest smiles that stopped at too thin lips, the talking about me as if I wasn’t there. Or worse was too young (or stupid) to understand. They knew it was true but because they couldn’t explain or understand it they chose to hide behind their hands and write me off as precocious, attention seeking. A problem.
So, they’d point and laugh when they thought I wasn’t looking, “That’s the one, you know, she’s a bit different.”
“Never the same since her mother died.”
“Over active imagination. Lives in a fantasy.”
They are all wrong. I can feel myself growing stronger each day. Last night I managed my first flight. Mother held me tightly the whole time but I could feel the strength in my wings, almost ready to fly solo and join her at last. Then they would see I hadn’t been lying.
The doctors said it was a tumour just like the one that took her. That was the reason for my mood swings, my “imagination”. Tablets would help they said, but I knew they wouldn’t. I let them believe I was taking them- I had them well hidden along with the long since shed downy feathers. Now I have white ones - golden fringed- the exact shade of my hair when the sunlight catches it. They light up my darkened room when spread. Mother doesn’t need to hold me tonight. I am ready for the journey.
I wanted to leave a feather for my father. Try as I might it wouldn’t come with pulling so I had to resort to the nail scissors. Strangely it came away, before the first cut had been made, to be instantly replaced by another. It faded a little as I placed it on my pillow. I knew that Father believed me deep down, but would never admit to that in front of the others. As a respectable doctor he had to keep up appearances. I would be sorry to leave him, but since she’d died he’d been increasingly distant, the pain etched more deeply across his face each time he looked at me. The feather would keep us close. If he let himself believe he would be able to see us both in more than dreams.
They would all know that I had been telling the truth once I’m gone. Perhaps I should stay a little longer but the need to spread my wings is too great. She is calling me.
Can you hear her?
I feel her reaching out. Maybe I will come back one day...