A Short Story
He crept in his wheelchair on the building rooftop towards the little child watching the flocks of birds sliding smoothly in the blue sky. He tapped, with his cold palm, on the little warm fore-arm and whispered:
-You remind me a great deal of your late brother, Abbass..
The child sighed and asked:
-Was he fond of birds, too?
-Not only fond of birds, he was simply mad about them…
The disabled old man remained quiet for a little while and added:
-He used to spend most of his time in the same place where you are standing right now, all alone, watching the blue sky and the dancing birds as they fly higher and higher..
As he noticed the little child’s interest, he carried on:
“He was maniacally fond of birds. I remember that He asked me, once, about birds’ means of communication and I said that they communicate by singing out their needs and desires. Oh, how- he- lo- ved- the- i-dea ! he shouted :
-How wonderful, daddy, it is to sing out your words instead of saying them plainly!
Then, with more excitement, he asked:
-What about food, daddy?!
I answered him that birds do not have food problems : they have their nourishment at anytime and from any field in the world because the world turns smaller when you fly, and quite at hand. That is the reason why birds seem to enjoy a high degree of self-esteem, refusing ready-made nests, building their haunts with their own beaks. Some of them will rise their pride roof the highest possible refusing to live outside the beautiful seasons of the year, migrating from north of the globe to south of it, in search of and good food a warm sun.
Once, Abbass surprised me:
-Can I fly , daddy ?
I denied because our ancestors had spoilt on us the chance of flying from the very beginning of our existence on Mother Earth. But he would protest energetically:
-What have to do with my ancestors, daddy? I am asking about myself ...
And I had to rationalize the situation:
Our ancestors had to try flying earlier in time so that they might have acquired wings and transmitted us their ability to fly. But they did not. That is why we are now here on the ground, wingless.
Yet, Abbass would always find solutions to match his rising enthusiasm:
- I’ll put feathers on my arms and I’ll fly away .
I answered that wings cannot be worn .Wings , like facial features, are inherited.
-I won’t stay nailed here. I want to fly.
-You won’t .
I had tried, before him, what he was brooding over. At his age, I myself had tried flying from the edge of this very rooftop, indifferent to the crowd of neighbours down the street, below me, spreading sheets from their corners and imploring me not to commit suicide:
-Don’t kill yourself! you’ll incur God’s wrath on you...
-I’m not going to kill myself , I’ m going to fly away...
But I threw myself from where you are standing now , and instead of flying , I fell so heavily that the sheets stretched for me were torn and I collided with the solidity of the ground and had my legs broken. The result is this: I do not fly, I creep ... "wysiwyg", my son:"what you see in me is what you will surely get"…
Yet, Abbass, you late brother, grew fonder of birds’ lives and offspring and songs until I found myself once crawling in my wheelchair to look deep down the street , below the building, where my neighbours crowded to bandage split skull of your late brother who attempted to fly, imprudently ”…
The disabled father withdrew his cold hand off the child’s fore-arm in order to outline the conclusion from this fable. Yet , the little child preceded him, with his face always focused on the far-away horizon:
-Don’t be afraid, daddy. I’ll follow neither your way nor Abbass’s...
Then, firmly :
-I will fly, daddy, and I will succeed in my try.
* Mohamed Saïd Raïhani, is a Moroccan translator, scholar & short-story writer, born on December 23rd 1968 in Ksar El Kébir. He published in Arabic "The Singularity Will " (Semiotic Study on First-names) 2001, "Waiting For the Morning" (Short stories) 2003, "Thus Spoke Santa Lugar-Verde" (Short stories) 2005, "The Season Of Migration to Anywhere" (Short stories) 2006. He is getting ready for printing:"Beyond Writing & Reading» (testimonies) and "Kais & Juliet" (An E-Love Novel).