Drama Inspirational

Excessive exertion left my body aching in pain and agony, not yet fully restored to its former health. My left hand throbbed and tingled owing to singularly heaving the redundant objects which served no purpose in my life any more.

Listlessly I looked around the room: Devoid of any personality or ardor, it could have belonged to anyone. The white rectangular patches on the walls told a story of not just a grave defeat, but of a defeated spirit.

The box, with the red wrapping paper (my sole Christmas present so far) lay unopened on the table. It was given to me by an older woman, with stark dark hair, matching dark kind eyes. I had seen her around the neighborhood few times, but never conversed with. She was in possession of a quality that one simply could not help but to trust. I accepted the gift with no question asked.

Inside the box I found a peculiar bird in a cage. It was the size of a small chicken, with golden torso and dark brown feathers around his face like a lion, with beady dark eyes and beak protruded from its round golden face. Adding to the unusual appearance of the bird was how mute and silently it stared. I had never seen such spectacular bird in my life. Upon a closer look I noticed that the bird’s right wing was held in an askew angle, as if broken.

My head was swimming, I staggered. I stretched my left hand to the wall behind me and steadied myself. My right hand held in the plaster cast lay useless like the bird’s wing. I wondered what that mean. Why had the woman, a perfect stranger given me such strange gift?

On the side of cage I noticed a small plaque reading, ‘Mr. Ridges’.

Mr. Ridges stoically was staring at me, not a dumb look, as if behind those small beady eyes were mind of a wise old man. There was never a doubt in my mind to whether to keep the bird or not, simply I felt I had to. There was a force, pulling me.

I found the cage hung pretty naturally from the hook that formerly held the boxing bag. Now the bag along with years of ardently gathered posters of famous fighters were sitting in the trash room waiting to be picked up.

I replenished the water bowl in Mr. Ridge’s cage, and got on the computer searching to learn about the bird. Couple of hours later nothing availed. As far as I managed to learn it was not of any common species. I had tried feed it pieces of rice and breadcrumbs, but to no success.

Throughout that day Mr. Ridges perched on the small horizontal bar in his cage watching me all the time, with an eerily fixed and resolute gaze. I was stunned that the bird had not tried to fly, or even move. However considering his useless right wing, it seemed quite understandable not to fly, but it stood still as statue.

The phone rang. It was Dad. I wanted to let it go to voicemail, but picked up after five rings. He wanted to check up on me again. He had insisted I go and stay with them for the holidays, my sister and her husband had come the day before he said. Not my brother though, he was occupied with his newly born in another state, three kids quite a hands full.

“I’ll come in couple of days Dad,” I said. “Still I have few things to sort out.”

“Did you think over the surgery son?” Yesterday Dr. Robinson, friend of father’s, examined my broken wrist, checking the scans. The nerves had been tangled up badly, and the bone fractured. He explained that there was a fifty percent of full recovery with a slightly risky surgery. Dad was an optimistic man. Honestly I wished to be like him. Even though I was not comfortable yet to admit it, but I was afraid to lose further mobility in my hand. And as far as my career in boxing was concerned, I pretty much considered it to be over. Without the surgery though my hand would heal in few months, but there would be limitations in wrist movements according to the doctor.

“Dad it’s only been a day,” I said hoping he would drop the matter. It was the oddest thing, he was never this supportive of my boxing career before the injury, not that he said anything, but I knew he liked me to become a lawyer or something, boxing was just too dangerous. He was proven to be right after all. Whenever I closed my eyes, whenever I got idle, the images of the last match played in front of my eyes. I saw my inaptitude, my utter incompetence. I was naive to believe I could be somebody in boxing, just a young man’s dreams. And that was when my hands were healthy; the best I could have look forward now was mediocrity.

“Okay son, call when you want me to pick you up.”

“No need Dad” I said trying to control my frustration, hated when people were just too damn nice. “I still can drive, and if I couldn’t I’ll Uber.”


Deep inside I could feel that something was unusual about the bird apart from its extraordinary appearance, but it was that night that I felt it with all the bones in my body. I knew I was dreaming, a sense, I sat in my bed, I could hear something, in the darkness. I saw movements, small flickers. When I turned the light on I saw Mr. Ridges perched on the top floor of the bookshelf, his dark eyes fixed on me. I got out the bed checked the cage, it was still locked.

The bird both wings wide open unscathed, flew over my head around the room, landing and flying again and again from one surface to another. I was laughing when I woke up the next day. Mr. Ridges was in his cage, still motionless, still his wing drooped awkwardly. But strange to say I felt that the bird had shared my dream. Or was I imagining, I wondered.

I went to the town to send a box, few dolls and toys for my nieces and nephews, when I saw the vet was open.

“It’s the strangest thing,” the doctor said after examining Mr. Ridge carefully. His brows furrowed. “As far as I can tell, the wing is intact, quite alright.”

“Then why doctor it hangs like that?” I asked. “The bird moves only rarely, there got to be something wrong with him?”

“I’m not sure. The bird is quite healthy, it should be able to fly, but maybe...” he paused looking at the plaster cast. “It may sound odd, but I read somewhere that some species are capable to high degree of empathizing with their owners.” The doctor seemed uncomfortable. “I know it seems to be a stretch. Hardly, you’d expect such intelligence from the little things, but you’d be amazed how perceptive they are.”

Aside from the mystery of the askew wing, the doctor after an exhaustive rummaging through his reference books concluded, “I think it is a type of Cockatoo family,” he said paging to and fro. “They are quite rare, especially around here, mostly they are found in warmer climates.”

I purchased a bag of seeds that according to the vet was Cockatoo’s favorite food, and indeed the seeds stirred up quite a response from the stoic bird. He simply devoured them.


I took out Mr. Ridges out the cage, and put on the window sill. The window was half-open. But the bird seemed utterly uninterested to fly away. He remained perched on the edge of the window sill glanced out and around and stayed mutely at its place.

“Your wings are fine, just fly away,” I said. I did not know why I didn’t want him around anymore. “I don’t know why you are given to me; I don’t understand. But... but please fly away.”

The bird stood still resolutely watching me. Then I heard the door creak open. It was the same woman standing at the door staring at me unblinkingly with those kind eyes. Her stark black hair danced around her shoulder as if in the wind. I heard the words blurt out of my mouth, “what’s wrong with him? Why doesn’t he fly?”

She remained silent. The door further opened, and a huge man stepped inside. A tall muscular man, holding a metallic rod in his right hand, slowly stepped forward. I could not move my body; it felt suddenly numb, and dead.

“Who are you?” I asked. “What do you want?” still the words floated unanswered in the air while the man threateningly approached me, stood for a moment. Then with a swift movement, without any hesitation, without uttering a single word, it hit my left side with the metallic rod.

A scream escaped me. “What ... what are you doing?” I asked with a shrill voice, trying to steady myself to the window sill.

And another strike landed to my other side. The pain coursed through my limbs. I doubled over, gasping for breath. The man third time hit my left leg, that sent me to the ground, staggered and prostrated on the ground.

My body was overwhelmed by terror. My thoughts were muddled. Finally I managed to take a breath, and desperately blurted out, “why are you doing this?”

The man raised the rod in the air, preparing for another blow. “Fight back,” the woman said pleadingly. I was shocked to see her still standing by the door watching me, as I had momentarily forgotten about her.

I felt the pain erupt through my body, like warm water filling. Every limb hurt. I could hear the swish sound of the metallic rod in the air. I did not feel the pain much anymore. It was dissolving into the background. My mind was focusing on Mr. Ridges twittering. I heard my own screams from afar, as if it belonged to someone else. I saw Mr. Ridges flew and perched on the chair beside me watching me with those dazzling beady eyes.

My left hand caught the rod in the air, joined with my right hand holding fiercely. There was no cast on my right hand, it was flawlessly moving.

Mr. Ridges was once more singing loud, when I woke up. He was still in his cage. I got up, closer examination I noticed the bird askew wing was holding up not drooping anymore. The bird seemed like anew.


I cannot exactly explain what was the dreams, was there anything mystical to the bird, or the strange woman, but whatever it was I felt anew as well. I could see clearer, as if a fog of desolation had been lifted.

That day I called my father, asked him to pick me up. On the way to my childhood home, I called Dr. Robinson letting him know that I wanted the surgery no matter the risks. On the whole way over Mr. Ridges perched on my shoulder, munching on the seeds and singing. There no silence no crooked wing anymore.

December 25, 2020 16:53

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