I perch on the railing of a balcony and look at the human standing a few feet away from me silently. She was so silent and still that I did not take her as a threat as I flew and rested my tiny legs here. Her face is still upturned, looking above into the night sky; gazing at what, I don’t know.
I am careful not to move too much, rustle my wings or make any noise as I sit there. There is something so serene about this female human unlike others that I don’t want to disturb her. I have enough patience to observe her in silence.
She sighs—not of sadness, not of longing, I don’t know why she sighed. She is still gazing up.
I carefully turn my head towards where she is looking and see nothing more than that normal night sky. I even doubt that she can see with as much clarity as me, as humans tend to have weaker sight than us. I look back at her in wonder.
I don’t make any expression. I’m a bird, not like any human even notices if there is a different expression on my face; they are not that intuitive. Birds have that intuition to understand each other through tone and tenor, our voices don’t lie of our feelings.
I go a little forward, mindful to not move too fast and disturb her. Daring, I move closer again after a couple seconds. This time, she notices me from the corner of her eye and breaks out of her trance. She jerks back slightly in surprise and I myself fly and perch farther from her, making the action in reflex.
“Oh it’s you. You scared me.” She says softly. I don’t understand why she speaks to me, no other human bothers. They usually shoo me off or promptly let out a curse. Yet, for the past few days that I have been here, she’s spoken to me.
I speak to her, but she doesn’t understand me. I make a soft noise to give a reply, my greeting. She takes it as that.
“You’re pretty stealthy, you know.” She says really softly again, which makes it almost the normal tone for me. She sighs again and slowly leans back on the railing. “Too bad you’re a sparrow. I would have been glad for someone’s company who doesn’t mind being silent.” I make another soft noise, not moving towards her anymore.
She only noticed me after a week of me coming here regularly, right around when she stares at the sky and is lost in her world. The first time she noticed me and jerked, I promptly flew away. Again the next night. Same the third. On the fourth night, she was waiting and was careful not to move too fast. She hummed softly after a minute of noticing me near her, her voice entranced me, almost as beautiful as a nightingale.
I kept coming back—for that voice, for the silent company. A few more days later, she started speaking softly to me. Talking about nothing and everything —things that seemed pointless and yet were showing the depth in her.
“Some days, dear sparrow, I wish I could fly away like you, not be stuck as a human forced to pretend all the time.” I crooned when she paused, encouraging her to continue and hoping she understood my support. “I suppose it isn’t easy for anyone to live happy these days. I see the rift between my parents and how it affects my little brother. I see how a remark about one’s body affects him or her so much. More and more I noticed the dark circles, the swollen and red eyes, the heavy makeup and the strained smiles around me.” She paused again, during which I stay quiet and still. “I started noticing the cracks and I can’t seem to stop. It’s selfish for me to be satisfied that I’m not the only one, but it also saddens me how most of us are sad.”
I don’t dare move now. She stays absolutely still too, closing her eyes and letting the moonlight bathe her face. A few minutes later, she hums a short tune, as if I’m forgotten. Then she opens her eyes and casually, as if I’m no more than another human, addresses me again. “Is all of that there in your bird lives? The heirarchies and bullies and sadness. I suppose not,” she chuckles to herself, “what do you birds do other than with to survive? I don’t know, I admit, but your life seems simpler.”
This has become too deep for me. I see it in her eyes, the growing hollowness, the ever-cementing helplessness. I cannot support her or offer words of condolence. I flap my wings twice and take off in flight. As I fly away, the wind carries the sound of her chuckle and sigh to me.
I fly only a few blocks far, taking in details out of habit, reassured that no one is around. I fly through the slit between curtains pulled in one of the open windows of a house. No human or animal noticed me fly inside in the dark night, the curtains flapping closed behind me. In a flash of light, I transform mid-stride and close the window glass with my hands. I switch off the lamp light and the room plunges into darkness.
As I fall asleep in my human form, I promise in my head, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will approach her in school. I will introduce myself and become her friend.”