Billie visited again and Ollie politely asked if I could make myself scarce, so they could speak in private.
It was difficult to hide my anger. I heard in his apology no reason not to light them both aflame.
Barefoot I fled into the hills, towards the river.
I squatted beside it and forced holes between its ripples with my stare.
I tried desperately to think of profound thoughts to impress him with.
I needed to construct an argument even he could not win.
Instigating a fight that lasted so long it stretched to eternity, so long he forgot Billie existed, so long by the end he could think only of me, was my only option.
My thighs ached mightily but I did not change position. I needed to understand why this had brought such hot thunder over me.
I could not return home until I did, even if the pebbles in the water eroded before Acceptance finally crested the hill and helped me up.
I had learned that much from Ollie, at the very least.
He was a good tutor in control, restraint. I was the avalanche and he was the mountain, unfazed. He liked to remind me that my pristine snowfall made us both taller.
It took me four hours before I understood rumbling down hillsides and uprooting trees was unsustainable. I must relinquish my empowerment for the greater good.
I am an invasive species and Ollie is my cage.
I see now my wish to fly free is irrelevant.
Before leaving I selected a stone – a trophy to commemorate considering escaping back into landscapes buried in merciless snow, alone and unfettered by the competition found in my native captivity.
I gifted the stone to Ollie but he did not notice. To my delight Billie and him both were too concerned with repairing my shattered toenails to understand the significance of it.
Your captive winter bird,