Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Birds: Part III

And here is another bird that has been haunting me as of late. To see more birds, try this post.

Bird 3: Bluebird
As you might have noticed by a few of my posts (and you will probably notice with subsequent posts that I have planned) that I have been addicted to Sara Bareilles' new album Kaleidoscope Heart. In particular, I have been transported somewhere in this strange universe by the song "Bluebird."

The song talks of a woman in a relationship who gets a letter from her lover who lets her know that she is no longer wanted/needed. She has kind of seen it coming, but it doesn't help her cope with the situation any better. She has prepared a bit, but she is reluctant to take the journey to leave.

The first time I heard this song, it started creating images in my mind. If I was an artist, I would take the time to try to sketch them out. But since I am more of a wordsmith, I'll spend my time here explaining my interpretation of the song, adding some visual descriptions of the movie I see every time I listen to the song.

I see a young woman in her early 20's. She wears a muted rust colored, full length dress. It starts red in the bodice, and fades slowly to gray. She arrives home from wherever she has been for the day, opens the mailbox, and finds a letter addressed to her. A bit startled by the fact that she received a letter through the mail, she rips the envelope open eagerly, wondering who it is from.

As she starts to read, she becomes decreasingly excited and increasingly somber. She is not overcome by the message she receives, but it definitely takes the wind out of her sails. Her plans to stick with this rocky relationship have been dashed by her lover. As she gets to the end of the letter, it isn't signed, but she can tell from the calculated penmanship who it is from. Plus, who would write her such a letter except for the person she has been spending all this time with recently.

She walks in the front door to confront her former beau, finding him sitting in a chair next to a fire, reading a business magazine. Not wanting to be a burden any more in his life, she informs him that she will be making a speedy exit while keeping her composure, half out of shock and half out of self-preservation. He bites his pipe stem while pursing his lips, waiting for the fireworks of the emotional explosion.

But it doesn't come.

She continues to her room, hastily grabs the few things that are friendly reminders of the life she wished she lived and throws them into a travel bag. After he finishes his article while glancing towards her bedroom, he comes into her doorway as she packs to reassure her that it is for the best. She gives him a weak smile, gently kisses him on the cheek, tells him that she is fine, and walks to the corner of her room to pick up one of her last unpacked possessions: a bluebird in a cage.

She pauses for a moment, staring at the bluebird, beginning a mental conversation to steel herself before she has to turn back around and face her betrayer.
And so, here we go bluebird.
Back to the sky on your own.
Oh, let him go bluebird.
Ready to fly--you and I--here we go.
She offers a small smile to the bluebird to reassure it, as much as herself, that everything will be fine. She attaches a chain from the circle at the top of the cage to a bracelet clasped around her wrist, binding the bluebird's fate to her own. Together they turn to face the man.

She passes in front of the man without making eye contact. He has asked to remove her from his life, so she will respect his wishes. She crosses to the closet and pulls out a pair of wings about five feet across. After fumbling with the bird cage, she folds them neatly underneath her free arm and starts to walk out the bedroom door. He stays leaning in the doorway, making it a point to be in her way enough that she needs to speak to him again, perhaps hoping for another goodbye kiss. Instead of giving in, she pushes her way past him, letting the wings brush him from the doorway as she passes. Frustration flashes across his face, but since this was his decision and he has said his peace in the letter, he just continues to bite on the pipe stem and lets her go. She'll look back. She'll wave goodbye.

Without the thought of a backwards glance, she moves as gracefully to the front door as anyone can with trunks in tow. It is all a bit cumbersome, and she bumps over a small end table on the way out, but that is no longer her concern. The walls of her previous home are too close. The curtains are all closed so that everyone outside looks at the house and notices its curb appeal instead of the people living inside it. She needs the fresh air from outside, so she jerks her belongings through the front door, bounces them down the porch steps and walks out to the middle of the dry grass field in front of the house at a steady pace--one foot in front of the other.

She carefully places the cage back down, detaching the chain. Laying the wings on the ground, she inspects them with her fingers and eyes. They are a bit shabby, as she hasn't used them in a bit, but she trusts in the warranty label attached to one of the chest straps. She lifts them up, remembering just how heavy and burdensome they can be to put on by yourself. After a few bounces and bucks, her arms are through the shoulder straps. They fit much like a backpack, complete with buckles and straps to fasten and cinch.

Reattaching the chain, she lets out a deep sigh. She can feel the weight of the wings on her back, but knows that she has the strength to use them. She will just have to get back in the habit. With that thought, the tears begin to well up in her eyes. Quickly grabbing the control switch dangling from one of the straps, she turns the wings on.

Clutching the top of the birdcage to make sure there is something real to hold onto, she jumps to let the wings begin to lift her into the air. She rises a bit, does a quick dive to gain speed, considering for a moment if she should pull out of it. An encouraging chirp from her friend reminds her that there is still more to be seen in life, so she pulls up above the trees.

She catches a thermal, which raises her quickly into the air. She circles up into the sky, careful not to look at the house that was once her home. As she notices the bluebird tilting its head toward the house, she angrily yells, “Let him go, bluebird!” This gets the bird’s attention, as do the tears which are freely streaming down her face. They continue flying toward the mountains, not quite sure how far they will be going, yet finding solace in the fact that they have each others’ companionship.

Here we go.

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