She was 4, maybe 5 at the time, an orphan who suddenly had a new mother and father, a new house, a new bedroom with drapes, a shiny red car. She had no language. It was early evening and her mother had lost her earrings. The girl was on her knees, searching the fibers in the yellow carpet. The carpet was dark, almost mustard, the lighting in the room poor. The mother had on a dress and the hem rustled like trees above her. Looking up, it was just like trees, dark with a white silhouette and the sound of water.
She wanted to find the earrings for her. She felt the anxiety coming in waves. There was a party, guests. Behind the closed doors, laughter. She found one quickly. It was a red teardrop with a gold back. Elegant and small. The other took a while but it was near the bureau, its red eye facedown in the carpet. Her mother crowed. What eyes you have, she told her, incredible.Incredible. How did you see that, child? How? Her mother fastened them to her ears.
She was quiet, happy. And then a thought occurred: something new and not entirely unpleasant. She could see things that her mother could not see.
It was balmy on Saturday, I had a sore lip, and my hair would not behave. I bought a salve and we walked quietly through the city streets. We saw a celebrity outside a movie theater and I pointed and said her name. It was tornado weather; there was this feeling that something suddenly would burst somewhere, a pipe or a cloud. And then there was news of snow. Sunday was blistering cold.
“I was interrupted in the heyday of this soliloquy, with a voice which I took to be of a child, which complained “it could not get out.”
I look’d up and down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman, or child, I went out without further attention.
In my return back through the passage, I heard the same words repeated twice over; and looking up, I saw it was a starling hung in a little cage.—“I can’t get out—I can’t get out,” said the starling.
I stood looking at the bird: and to every person who came through the passage it ran fluttering to the side towards which they approach’d it, with the same lamentation of its captivity.
“I can’t get out,” said the starling.—God help thee, said I, but I’ll let thee out, cost what it will; so I turn’d about the cage to get to the door; it was twisted and double twisted so fast with wire, there was no getting it open without pulling the cage to pieces.—I took both hands to it.
The bird flew to the place where I was attempting his deliverance, and thrusting his head through the trellis, press’d his breast against it, as if impatient.—I fear, poor creature, said I, I cannot set thee at liberty.—“No,” said the starling—“I can’t get out—I can’t get out,” said the starling.”