Badly titled story about a crow that carries a girl's memories for her during the night...
|Every morning since I can remember, a crow has come to sit at my window.
And not just any old crow; a crow bearing a heavy burden. It is the crow that brings back to me a lifetime of memories – of regrets, mistakes, triumphs, tribulations. In a bauble ‘round its shadowy neck it carries my liquid memories, a dose of near-fatal poison, a taint named Reality.
Since I was a baby I’ve gone through this wicked ritual, the one and only constant in my life. I never thought to blame my father for my misfortune; others did that often enough. He had tried to help, to preserve my innocence and give me new life each night, and in a way he had succeeded. He had sold his soul to guarantee me the nightly privilege of shedding my memories, but I could never find the courage – or the words – to thank him. In fact, I questioned whether there was anything to thank him FOR. Losing my memories every day at dusk only to have to gulp them all down again the next morning seemed more curse than blessing. The feeling of being lost and dizzied by all the information being crammed back into my skull was loathsome to me, and I came to dread the dawn – even without my memories, without knowing why.
By the time I was 8 years old, the poor pathetic crow that carried my seemingly insurmountable burden became an object of hate and scorn, a sort of scapegoat for my unspoken needs, unvoiced fears. I don’t know what I expected – maybe that the little bird was magic. Maybe that its supernatural heart would never stop beating. So what if I took it for granted? How could I have known what was going to happen? You can’t blame me – it’s not really MY fault!
I stare blankly at the ruffled pile of unmoving feathers on my windowsill, eyes filling with tears. Tears for me, for the loss of my own innocence, for my father’s wasted sacrifice. Hot tears of anger at the homely black bird whose unostentatious death left me with so much grief and pain. Tears of betrayal, overwhelmed tears, tears of unbridled agony. I couldn’t carry the burden the bird had borne for me these past 25 years. I wasn’t ready for the overwhelming responsibility with no chance of escape.
But as I scooped him into a box,
dug a hole,
buried him –
the tears I cried weren’t for my own pain, but his. I wept for the burden his poor wings had been forced to carry, and for my selfishness.
But there was more.
As I tied two sticks together and stuck them in the shallow earth of his grave, I cried – I had never given my crow a name.