In Memory of Birds Chirping

The boy liked the sound of the birds chirping in the garden. He looked up into the trees and raised a hand to shade his eyes against the dappled sunlight that partially blinded him through the verdant leaves. He can just make out one of the birds on a branch.

He smiled, the bird sounded happy, but how would he know? The boy knew the normal daily sounds of the pigeons and sparrows, but were they happy or sad sounds? His young mind felt it was a sign of happiness. but was not sure. Maybe when he was older and heard more he could tell.

He knew that would not happen. He had studying to do. He was roped into sitting in the garden listening to birds because his mother had insisted that he take a token break and rest his mind or not have dessert with dinner.

“I am five! I do not need to rest my mind. My mind is perfectly fine.” He had huffed at first, but now happily sat on the bench and listened to the nature around him.

He then remembered the loud panicked caw of a scared bird.

“Mum, remember last week when that crow somehow got its wing wrapped around the clothesline? We had to…” the boy turned to look at his mother. Only she was not there.

The boy gawked at the old man that sat next to him on the garden bench. His face was such that the boy knew the man was handsome when he was young and he had aged handsomely with it. The old man wore a very nice suit under his trench coat. His age spotted hands rested on an umbrella that looked vaguely familiar. He looked up at the birds in the trees as well. Sunlight glinted off the sparse silver strands on his head. The gentle smile on the old man’s face slowly faded as his head turned and a pair of warm brown eyes settled on him.

“Who are you?” the boy asked.

The warm brown eyes in front of him filled with concern. “My…?”

“My name is Mycroft. It is only two syllables. If you are privileged to know the first, please be so kind as to make you way to the last.” The boy said haughtily.

The old man had reached out to touch his hand, but the boy snatched it away from the stranger. “Who ARE you?”

The old man quickly looked across the way behind him and the boy followed the gaze. Two men and a woman sat at a different bench behind them. The woman stood, her kind eyes narrowed as she approached him, the two men rapidly followed her.

He tried to run but his body was so slow to move as though taped to the bench. The three quickly caught up and restrained him by the arms. The old man cringed as he apologized, tears had begun to mist his eyes.

When he felt the prick of the needle in his arm, he had a moment of clarity and remembered.

Middle age, brother mine. Comes to us all. He remembered saying to his brother once and now thinks:old age too.

“Sundowning…” Mycroft whispered to himself.

Mycroft knew this was not the first time. At nearly a century in age, he was still surprisingly strong and had once sprained a nurse’s wrist in his panic between minds. This time the staff got to him before he had become violent. It was happening more and more. The greatest mind of his generation and it was slowly being chopped away in dementia.

Mycroft reached out a hand as his eyes found the teary eyes of his husband.

“I understand Gregory. I love you.”

Greg gave him a wavering smile as their fingers touched over his umbrella. Mycroft heard the birds chirping as the sedative took him.

The boy liked the sound of the birds chirping in the garden.


The Sunday WhirlWordle 441


Use the following 12 words in a short story or poem:

sign – token – mind – form – gawk – mist
across – tape – chopped – arm – cringe – rope

Perfect Stranger

I do love her still, for she’s still mother
Though oft she calls me by names of others
Her soft eyes remain, shining warm with care
The curves of her body, her graying hair
But her mind now slides from what’s really there

Her concave lips form that familiar smile
Like when she showed off her latest hairstyle
Even with loose curls each strand was in place
Particular to the point of basket case
Never walked out the door without her face

Made a clean home look easy to attain
My haphazard ways were always her bane
It gave her license for years to nitpick
My style she joked was an urban beatnik
But she loves my roast chicken with garlic

Her home now’s not what I thought would occur
But she’d gone beyond my means to help her
After jumping with haste to a rescue
When she tried to melt wax for a fondue
Insists utensils could be eaten too

She’s no longer the mother that I knew
Some days it takes all just to muddle through
I look at her and it’s my face I see
So it’s twice as hard when she looks straight at me,
And then asks ‘And who are you sweetie?’

That I remind her of her little girl
Who fidgets wearing pinafore and curls
She’s the woman that once knew me so well
But if she knows me at all now I can’t tell
Yet I know her deeply, and that’s my hell

Roles reversed, she’s the one whose hair I comb
When I visit her at the nursing home
“See this pin my girl gave me yesterday?”
I was a child, it’s so old in years even I cannot say
But for her, the years time has washed away

Seeing the pin makes me break down in tears
She coos “Oh miss, it can’t be that bad dear”
I fall in the familiar arms of hers
As everything becomes just one big blur
And I cry upon a perfect stranger