BREAKING FREE

At every waking moment, she found herself peering through the gaps in between the cylindrical steel bars. And each time, she saw a patio fully adorned with flowers. She had always loved the roses and the jasmine, particularly their scents that lingered in the air throughout the day. But at times, the smell of freshly-cut grass drowned the aura and left behind a rustic but nevertheless pleasant air.

A few feet in front of her stood a white tea table surrounded by dainty white chairs. They sat idle on the patio for most of the day, except for an hour or two before sundown.
She saw them every day. The man with a cane always appeared first and took his spot on the table by the potted conifer. He usually sat there deep in thought, and gaze fixed on the horizon. Then the old woman would come out with a plate full of cookies and take a seat right beside the man. They sometimes liked to chat, but mostly dwelled in silence. And when the bright orange sky darkened into a light shade of violet, they would go back inside, leaving her alone again on the patio.

She spent her days on the steel railing looking out at the garden, the only world she knew. She was always observing this world of hers change. She liked watching the corners of shadows diverge and morph into more undecipherable figures. She liked listening to the sudden rumbles of the seemingly calm sky. And she rejoiced with a melody no ears were gifted enough to hear at the sound of pouring rain. These gave her hope, hope for a future.

And one day, as she was singing to herself, it happened. He had heard a melodious voice and came searching for its owner. And she was completely taken aback when she saw a familiar stranger appear out of the blue sky and descend on the tea table. He chirped. She looked away coyly. He chirped again, but when he didn’t get her attention, he sang her tune. She finally gave in and looked at the stranger standing before her and sung along. They looked into each other’s eyes for a long while before he flapped his milk-white wings and flew away. She knew she would never see him again.

She looked down at her dry, scaled feet that had grown tired from standing on cold steel. She longed to spread her wings and take flight, and never look back at the cage she was forced to call home.

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