When a moment of irritation, is turned into a piece for one of my books. So instead of being angry, I decided to get creative…
The Sparrow Scarer
She woke to claps of thunder and torrential rain, comfortable and safe in her bed, where she relished the sound and stretched herself awake, sitting up and luxuriantly stretching out her wings, which spanned most of the width of the tiny room.
She folded them in again, then washed, dressed and made her way down to the breakfast buffet, which was divided from the street by a row of plant pots separating the dining area from the outside world and traffic constantly rumbling by.
Having eaten half a banana and a nectarine, she nursed a black coffee, charmed, as she was every morning, by a handful of sparrows, who hopped about opportunistically, seeking cheeky left overs and crumbs on the floor. She would watch their quiet antics, whilst most people there, barely even registered their existence.
Today the restaurant was almost empty and the torrential rain had driven in a small flock of them, hopping around the table legs. Suddenly, a group of them flew up and landed on the 2 chairs opposite her. She looked them over – mainly female, but as 2 flew off, alarmed as someone walked by, so two males came and landed in their place. One cheeped and wiped his beak on the top of the chair. “Is that a sparrow being macho then?” she mused, with the slightest of smiles.
She chopped up the remains of her nectarine and softly dropped it onto the plate she had deliberately slid to the other side of the table. They stayed put, constantly moving their heads, warily gauging their surroundings, but never taking their eyes off her and the food.
She looked at their markings – one male had a small collar of black feathers across his neck, whilst the other had a string of them intermingled with grey, almost like a native necklace.
The sparrow with the collar hopped down, edging his way towards the food.
Suddenly someone was clapping loudly and they rose and flew off. Assuming it was one of the waiting staff, Ariel was surprised to hear a female English voice say, very pointedly “Nuisance!”
“Not to me” Ariel said to the sparrow scarer – a be-trousered, tall, falsely blonde woman, somewhere in her 60s, who turned on her heels. “Bitch” Ariel intoned, just loudly enough that her nemesis would hear as she returned to her own table and husband, who was quietly ingesting a plate full of scrambled eggs and bacon. Ariel’s bile rose, as their table was at the far end of the restaurant, where no birds ever intruded.
Had this woman been watching her covertly trying to feed the birds and decided to ruin the moment? To what end? Was she scared of them? No – “nuisance” did not indicate that.
So what were the sparrows to her? A danger? A harbinger of dirt and danger? “Honestly,” thought Ariel, “what harm did a sparrow ever do to anyone?” As far as she was aware, a sparrow had never swooped down, cheeping ferociously and stolen a rasher of bacon off a breakfast plate. A sparrow had never viciously attacked anyone, for heaven’s sake. She had never heard of any one dying a slow and painful death from a virulent, sparrow originated disease. They were quiet brown creatures, simply taking advantage of left over human detritus – tiny feathered street urchins – opportunely cleaning up and then flying away. There was therefore, absolutely no need to bully and chase them away.
Neither was there a need to interrupt her breakfast or censure her, also a quiet, brown little creature, minding her own business, on the edges of existence. “How dare she!”
A few sparrows drifted back inside, keeping their distance and once again hopping round table legs close by.
Having finished her coffee, Ariel strode pass the couple as she made her way towards the Exit. She clapped out a loud ‘rat ta tat tat’ as she walked past their table. “Nuisance!” she barked out, hoping that they too would dissipate into the ether at her staccato command.
Instead of flying away however, the ignorant clay foots remained rooted to their chairs, suddenly frozen in mid-chew.
Ariel strode away, anger now dissipating into laughter.
~ Sandra Peachey – Bird Watcher
PS: My book – Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life has been featured in Psychologies Magazine and The Lady, it was also honoured as a Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards.
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