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Flight
by Aravind (Prose - Short Story) | Published On: 16-Aug-2017

The Tweet Sparrow Family consisted of four - the grandpa sparrow, the grandma sparrow, the son sparrow, and the daughter-in-law sparrow. The grandpa sparrow was called Mr. Tweet, the grandma sparrow - Mrs. Tweet, the son sparrow - Mr. Tweet Jr., the daughter-in-law - Mrs. Tweet Jr.; and they all eagerly waited to welcome the fifth member of the family, Master Tweet III.

It was a fabulous evening for the family when Master Tweet III was born. Mrs. Tweet Jr. sat on the egg to offer the right warmth. She was fiercely protective of the egg, as the three others were breached by Mr. Caw Family, the Tweet Family's arch nemesis.

Mrs. Tweet Jr. was all alone. And suddenly, she felt the egg beneath her crack. Her excitement rushed to its hilt. She started to tweet vigorously, calling out to Mr. Tweet, Mrs. Tweet and Mr. Tweet Jr.

Mr. Tweet and Mr. Tweet Jr. had gone to fetch more twigs to make their nest bigger; to make room for the newest member of the family, while Mrs. Tweet was at a Water Bonanza Party organized by her friend Ms. Tweetatweet, who was a household sparrow.

'Ah, the moment we were all waiting for. Be born, Tweet the third,' said Mrs. Tweet, excited, after having landed on the nest, only to face her daughter-in-law's stern look. 'I tried to return as quickly as possible,' she said, almost apologetically.

'The men of the house have gone to collect twigs, and I was here taking care of my little baby, and for you, your cripple friend's Water Bonanza is more important,' said Mrs. Tweet Jr. If she felt sad about the accusation, she didn't show it on her face, for she didn't want to appear sad when the baby was born. As if on cue, Mr. Tweet and Mr. Tweet Jr. landed on the nest with more twigs. 'Is it a he or a she? Did we miss it? Did we miss it?' asked Mr. Tweet Jr., unable to contain his surge of adrenaline.

The egg cracked a little bit more. The family members stopped all their works at once and affixed their eyes on the egg shell, to witness the miracle of birth.

Master Tweet III struggled hard pushing the shell with his tiny little legs. He twisted and turned in his shell and with one final thrust, the shell broke in half. The very sight of the baby coming to life drowned the Tweet Family in a mystic river of happiness. 'It's a baby boy! It's a baby boy!' said Mr. Tweet Jr., flying from tree to tree amidst his excited tweets, while the other three Tweets stayed on in the nest.

Master Tweet III tried to wriggle his legs out of one half of the shell. The family watched on, their eyes aglow, as the pinkish, fleshy little fellow came into the world.

'I am going to love you so much, Tweetie pie,' said Mrs. Tweet Jr., breaking down, and sent silent prayers to God for letting at least one of her babies be born.

After quite a bit of a hassle, Master Tweet III finally managed to settle down to a deep, deep slumber. It might seem unnatural, but be it for humans or sparrows, the birth of a gross yet beautiful, breathing being meant utmost happiness.

'Isn't he the most adorable little sparrow? He looks just like you, son,' said Mrs. Tweet, pointing to Master Tweet III's tiny beak.

'Let's get to work, Tweets. The baby is born and the nest ain't getting bigger by itself,' said Mr. Tweet and the Tweets were off to work. The male Tweets went in search of more twigs and brought them as soon as they found some and the female Tweets arranged the twigs properly. By midnight, the nest was much bigger than they intended it to be.

Day after day, Mrs. Tweet Jr. fed him, crooned lullabies and held him close to her bosom - a mother's serene love for her child. On the seventh day, Tweet III's eyes opened and the first thing he saw was the white cotton candies spread across the blue canvas - the sky.

'My baby has opened his eyes, my baby has opened his eyes!' screamed an excited Mrs. Tweet Jr., hugging her baby. 'Mama's proud of you, Tweetie,' she said, kissing him gently on the head with her pointy beak. By then, Master Tweet III's limbs had blackened which meant it had developed well and strong. It even had a light layer of feathers that mama was proud of.

'Tweet,' he said on day 9, much to the rejoice of the family.

'He said my name,' said Mr. Tweet.

'It could have been mine,' said Mrs. Tweet and the argument went on in the very similarly named family as Master Tweet III succumbed to a deep, peaceful sleep which was undisrupted by the quarrelsome Tweets.

The feathers thickened and Master Tweet III developed a crown on Day 12. The little sparrow looked nothing like when he was born. He was quite charming.

'I want to fly,' he said, on day 15, after a lot of contemplation and mulling over how his overly protective mother would react.

'No, Tweetie pie, you aren't ready yet. Remember what I told you about your fate of your brothers and sisters? They were attacked by the Caw Family. You aren't strong enough to defend yourself when the most-populated bird family sights you. I am your mother and I will think only of your good,' she said, with such warmth in her voice that could have made even the most stubborn sparrow melt. Master Tweet III was nonetheless. He muttered a weak 'okay' and went back to his portion in the nest.

'Guess what news I have!' said an excited Mrs. Tweet as she perched on the nest, only to be responded by two pairs of eyes staring at her, cueing her to go on.

'I just came back from Ms. Tweetatweet's. She said that her keepers are going off somewhere for a whole day,' she said and winked at Master Tweet III.

'A Bonus Water Bonanza party!' he said, excitedly and jumped, which made a few twigs in the nest to ruffle.

'Tweetie, I know you're excited, but you're going to make us homeless,' said Mrs. Tweet Jr., to which Mrs. Tweet laughed. His family (except his mom) had left him when the first party since he was born was organized a week back. He was excited to fly and meet the interesting woman sparrow Ms. Tweetaweet for the first time.

'Ms. Tweetatweet's apartment is just a few minutes from here, mom. Can I fly only to that distance? Please...' asked Master Tweet III.

'We've been over this, Tweet, the third. I cannot have this conversation with you over and over again.'

'So, this is a firm 'no'?' he asked, desperately seeking for some hint in her eyes that suggested that she'd say 'yes'. On the contrary, she shook her head and marched off to her portion of the nest.

'How about you, Grandma? Do you think that I can't fly? Do you think I'm not capable to take care of myself? Kids my age from the other nests have started to fly,' he said and sighed.

Mrs. Tweet went near him and whispered, 'Your mother is just so very protective of you, Tweetums. Let her go food-hunting somewhere. I promise, I'll let you fly,' she said and winked, only to face the wrath of her daughter-in-law.

'I heard that. You might have been not protective of your son when he was young. You might not have cared for him, but I adore my baby and I know what's good for him. This little talk has made me have second thoughts that I should trust you. I am never setting my foot out of this nest without my baby,' said Mrs. Tweet Jr., firmly.

Some of her caustic comments affected Mrs. Tweet badly as she slowly moved to her portion and cried.

There was heated argument in the house when the male counterparts returned. Master Tweet III started to feel that he was the reason for the big fight in the house. He slowly crouched towards his family and cleared his throat as loud as the tiny frame could allow him to. All four pairs of eyes were fixed on him.

'Mom, dad, grandpa, grandma,' he began weakly, 'I am the reason you guys are having this argument. And I have made my decision. I will follow my mother's instructions. I will fly only when she tells me that the time was right and I doubt if it will be in the near future. Please don't argue over this issue again. Okay? I've made up my mind not to fly as yet,' he said and before he got the response from his family, he marched back to his portion.

Sadness was very much apparent on his face and all the family members except his mother very much wanted him to fly. Apprehensive of Mrs. Tweet Jr., everyone let it go and went about their own jobs, as Master Tweet III cried himself to sleep.

'Wake up, Tweetums,' said Mrs. Tweet. He half-opened his eyes and went back to sleep again. 'It's Bonus Water Bonanza Day,' she said. This time, he fully opened his eyes to see that all his family members were ready to go Ms. Tweetatweet's apartment. He didn't mull over asking if he could fly until there. That'd wreak a disaster, he thought to himself and let his mother carry him without making much of a fuss.

In about two minutes, the sparrows reached Ms. Tweetaweet's and the reaction on her warm, gentle face was more than genuine surprise when she saw Master Tweet III. 'Look at him, all handsome!' she said.

'Welcome, welcome, Tweets. Come on in. There's no trouble today as no one is going to spot any of you. Make yourselves at home,' she said, from her cage.

'Good morning, Ms. Tweetatweet,' they said in unison.

'Let me fill the mugs for you all,' she said and left her cage. She couldn't flap her wings like the other neighbourhood sparrows did. Master Tweet III remembered her mother mentioning her as a sweet lady, but crippled. He felt sorry for her. Using her other good arm, she slowly tilted the water can and filled four mugs with water up till the brim. She almost lost balance while filling the fifth. Mr. Tweet Jr. volunteered to help, but she resisted.

'Young man, I am capable of doing this. Please don't pity me,' she said and winked. Master Tweet III's eyes twinkled. She's so determined even though she can't fly, he thought.

'Can we check out your keeper's place? We've been coming here for years now, but we never got to check out the place fearing your keepers' presence any moment,' asked Mrs. Tweet Jr.

'By all means, young lady. Please do. And I apologize for the millionth time that you didn't get to check the place out,' she said.

The four Tweets went excitedly to check out the Giants - homo sapiens' place.

'Are you not coming Tweetie?' asked Mr. Tweet Jr.

'No, dad. I'll chat with Ms. Tweetatweet,' he said and smiled.

'He'll be fine with me, young man. You have a nice tour,' she said.

'I can see something is bothering you, Lil' Tweet,' she said, smiling.

'Ms. Tweetatweet,' he began, 'no, this is too awkward. No,' he said.

'You can ask me anything, Lil' Tweet. After all, I'm your Godgrandmother,' she said and laughed.

'You're God?' asked Master Tweet III, unable to comprehend the big word.

'No, Lil' one. You're too cute I can just hug you all day long,' she said and laughed, 'there's no God. It's the massive homo sapiens' created concept just so he could be fearful enough to not commit any heinous crimes. Remember that. There's no God, Lil' one. It's all just a facade. At least, that supreme being doesn't exist outside. I pity the fools like my keepers who is in search of this external God while the so-called He dwells inside. It's ironic, isn't it?' she said and laughed, only to meet the perplexed eyes of Master Tweet III.

'I am sorry, Lil one. I'm boring you, aren't I?' she asked.

'Not at all, Ms. Tweetatweet. You're the coolest sparrow I've ever met.'

'Ah, I get that a lot, you know? And from now on, you can call me Godgrandma, if you wish,' she said and winked.

'Alright, Godgrandma,' he said and smiled.

'So, what's bothering you, Lil' Tweet?' she asked.

'Well,' he began, 'my only ambition is to fly and soar high; higher than the neighbourhood birds. I just can't,' he said.

'You're a charming young fellow. Let me look at those wings,' she said and examined them carefully. 'These are some strong limbs. I am sure you can beat your contemporaries with much ease,' she said.

'The problem is, Godgrandma,' he sighed, 'my mom won't let me fly.'

'Oh, poor Lil' fellow. Guess what?' she asked and whispered into his ear, 'your mom is in there and by the looks of it, she isn't going to be back any sooner. And the sky is wide-open,' she said. That excited the boy a little bit, but the excitement waned in no time.

'No,' he said, 'my mom will kill me if she finds out.'

'Oh poor Lil' Tweet, moms don't kill their own sons. In fact, I just had a talk with your grandma two days before. It seems your mother is very protective of you, which is good, but at times, she has got to let you go and pursue your ambition. Let me tell you a secret that nobody knows, Lil' One,' she said, and met his inquisitive eyes.

'Long ago, when I was two days old, there was an attack by the Caw Sisters who wreaked havoc then to us sparrows. They breached our nest and killed my parents. They didn't want to let me go, too. They derived pleasure from the sparrows' plight. On a count of three, they pushed the nest over the edge and that was my first and last flight. A very kind girl who I call Ms. Nancy pitied me and took me in. There's not a day that passes by that'd satiate my wish to fly again. I've made my peace with it, too, in the long run. You on the other hand, are gifted and I want you to fly right now,' she said.

The story moved Master Tweet III and inspired him to fly. He walked towards the edge of the balcony and closed his eyes tightly.

'What's stopping you, Lil Tweet?'

'I can't do it; I'm afraid,' he said and cried.

'You mustn't be, Lil' Fella. Spread wings and take flight.'

'I can't, Godgrandma,' he said and as he turned to return back to his safe haven, Ms. Tweetatweet pushed him over the edge.

'Whoaaa!!' he screamed and went down and down and down.

'Flap! Flap! Flap!' he said to himself, but the gravity didn't seem to listen to him and the ground approached him faster by the second.

Ms. Tweetatweet was horrified. She didn't know what she was going to tell the Tweet Family if the little one didn't make it.

She watched on, frightened. 'Flap harder, Lil' one. You have it in you!' she screamed as loud as she could.

With all might that he could muster, he flapped his wings. He took flight, only a few feet before he could have hit the ground. It was disorderly and random at first and then as he pushed himself to greater heights, his wings gave way. He winked at Ms. Tweetatweet as he passed her. 'You gave me a heart attack, Lil' one,' she said as fresh stream of tears began to soak her big beak.

He returned gracefully and landed. 'Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, Godgrandma,' he said, hugging and kissing her indefinitely.

'Looks like you guys got along really well,' said Mrs. Tweet Jr., who came by along with the family, smiling from left side beak to right.

'You bet, mom. I love my Godgrandma,' he said, hugging her tighter.

That day, Master Tweet III allowed himself to be carried by his mother and he did not tell any of his family members that he had took his first flight; not even to his grandma. That night, he slept the most contented sleep.

A Year Later:

'Godgrandma!' called Master Tweet III.

'If that isn't my favourite Godgrandson,' said Ms. Tweetatweet.

'Come on out,' he said, flying adjacent to her balcony in circles.

'What is it, Lil' one?'

'Hop on,' he said, showing his shoulders.

'I'm not really sure, Lil one,' she said.

'Hop on, Godgrandma,' he said and she hopped on his strong shoulders.

'And hold on tight,' he said as they soared to the heights she never imagined existed.

 

 

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Author
Aravind

Aravind

Written: 6 Stories

Member Since: 15-Aug-2017

Country: India

Category

Emotional Touch