Mother nature was making a noisy fuss.
I’d awoken a few minutes past the hour of two to her sound; a harmony of rustling trees and frolicking fallen leaves, with accompaniements provided by hungry goats and bothered chickens just beyond my open bedroom door. I lay there for a few minutes, allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness, wondering how come I was lying in my sweat and discomfort with that windy ruckus going on outside in full swing.
A shadow moved past my uselessly open window and I spoke up. “Hey. Looks like we’ll be getting those rains we just prayed for huh?”
I heard a voice laugh. “As in, amen oh. It’s coming.” She continued down the corridor and I raised myself up on my arms, waiting eagerly for a waft of breeze to grace my skin but the atmosphere in my room remained as hot as I knew it to be in the middle of the afternoon when the sun glared menacingly upon us.
“What is going on?” I inquired of no one in particular as I got off the thin mattress and put on my flip-flops. If the breeze wouldn’t come to me, I’d go to it. I’d sit outside and let the dust bathe me provided the air carrying it would agree to be cool.
There was no such agreement.
The moment I stepped outside I scowled. The air without was much worse than that within, only this time; it was aimed at me with more force and vexation than was even fair or necessary. Setting a foot into the courtyard, I stuck my neck out to look up at the sky and felt even more discouraged; there wasn’t a healthy cloud in sight. Shaking my head, I went back in, considering adding a few more details to that prayer for rain I’d sent up earlier. If the winds were this hot, what assurance was there that the drops wouldn’t have steam floating from them?
After walking around my room for a bit, groggy, uncomfortable and annoyed at the atmosphere, I decided to sit at my desk to complete a blog post I’d begun the day before – although working with electricity was by far more to my preference. As sleep was no longer even remotely alluring, and the mattress was as hot as the floor, the only option available comprised of sitting on a hard wooden surface, fighting the flies drawn by the light of my laptop screen, and praying for a miracle.
At about 6am, a stranger flew in (by now, mosquitoes, flies, crickets and bugs in general were on the familiar side to me). Needless to say, I was startled and the irritation I had just barely subdued arose once again. Maybe there are writers who like interruptions while they work but I’m not one of them. I frowned at this confused black creature fluttering around my room and being noisy, assuming it was the impolite bat that’d barged in a few times in the past week for a quick nap, leaving as it came without so much as a flap in greeting or a farewell screech. After this thing flew up, down, and sideways, with me lazily flapping my slipper at it whenever it came too close to where I was seated, it finally alighted on my open bedroom door.
Well what do you know? It was a bird.
I scowled at it for several more minutes before deciding to ignore it and get back to my writing. I wanted to be done before daybreak so I could get ready for work in good time. The electrical power had been restored to a degree – very low and unstable – but sufficient to give my fan slothful motion and power my bulb, so I could glance at the bird ever so often to make sure it didn’t begin to feel too adventurous. A few times I wondered why it didn’t just take the exit and return to its zone, assuming it straying into my room was spurred more by frantic panic courtesy of the heavy winds, as opposed to interest in the human and what she was typing away on her laptop. When after several minutes I heard no chirp announcing its departure, I stopped writing and put on my torch, training it on this little visitor.
“What exactly are you looking for though? First the flies, now you – what is my room to you guys?”
No response of course. It just cocked its head a few times, basking in the spotlight, before resuming its inspection of my room from its lofty standpoint. I was about to resume writing when this bird suddenly went a-winging round my room again, choosing this time to alight on my very exposed bulb. My lamp holder was very weak and I wasn’t even ready for this creature to start pecking at my bulb so I stood – forced into action. I took my hand fan and waved vigorously at it.
“My friend will you get away from there? I’m not even playing.”
It listened and started flying around again but I just wasn’t in a mood to tolerate such bad behavior, so I timed it and when it was close enough, swatted it down with the fan. It landed on my mattress, dazed. That surprised me a little because the fan is really very light but then, I wasn’t about to let that stall me till it recovered from its shock. I gave it two more swats on the head and once it fluttered to the space between the wall and the mattress, I got a small disposable cup, a folded piece of paper – and voila, it became a prisoner.
I raised the cup to my face and studied it. Initially, I was surprised to see red on its beak and eyes, convinced I hadn’t used half as much force required to draw blood. By the time I spotted the red tints on its tail as well though, I figured it was more of an artistic touch – courtesy God – than the product of my violence. Setting my captive beside my laptop, I used the weight of the lit up torch to hold it down. It reminded me of those interrogation rooms they show in all them crime series and now it was my turn to cock my head in observation, from my superior position. I soon replaced the torch with a portable rechargeable lamp and diary, mentally lauding the Styrofoam cup for not caving in. After some minutes another bird swooped right in through the door.
My jaw hung.
“What is going on tonight? What have I done?!”
I was exasperated enough to get up and catch that one as well but it wasn’t ready; it was out the window almost as swiftly as it had come in. I smiled.
That was wisdom.
I looked back to birdie-in-a-cup (it was wide eyed now but maybe still in shock so it just looked back), wondering why it had been so confident in a strange territory. Instead of continuing out the exit when it re-located it, it went after the shiny yellow orb way up. It chose to go round in circles, landing on things it didn’t know and ignoring the chance to reunite with freedom.
Well since I can’t speak bird, I’ll never know why it made that decision. But as the light of dawn crept in through my door and window, and as the free birds in the tree in the courtyard chirped their greetings to the day, I watched my little captive get understanding. Suddenly, it began to struggle with the unyielding walls of the Styrofoam cup, jumping and flapping and chirping for freedom. It didn’t want to explore anymore. It didn’t want the bright yellow orb, or to play room inspector, or to even be Kwiksie’s star actor in ‘Feathery Forensics’. It just wanted freedom.
But it was too late because now…
I wanted it.
To be continued…