home-made elderflower with sparkling water
‘Let me take you under my wing,’ you said, ‘together we will ride the thermals, reach heights you never imagined.' So I flew the nest, leaving behind all family and friends.
‘We are swans,’ he said, ‘paired for life, needing no-one but each other.' I thought we were turtle doves.
We flew around the globe, just the two of us, stopping long enough to say we’d seen life, but never long enough to live. And for a time I was happy to listen only to your call. We watched as others defined their territory, built their nests and raised their young.
‘How lucky we are to soar above those ordinary lives!’
But then I heard it. The beat of a thousand wings in perfect harmony; a murmuration, a moving tableau in the sky. How did the common starling, so raucous, so angular, create such beauty? I felt its ripples overwhelm me.
‘Don’t leave,’ you said, ‘I cannot live alone.’
But you are not my swan or my turtle dove. You are an albatross, loyal to the end, but content to live on the wing. You are weighing me down and I can no longer fly.
And so I leave and join the dance. I swoop, I soar, I find myself in the crowd. I am, it turns out, a home-bird after all.
Note: The male albatross spends many years choosing a partner, and remains loyal till one of them dies. It is not part of a flock, and only joins others to select a mate and breed.
About the author
Fiona is a freelance radio journalist and mum of three who has always secretly longed to write fiction.