Mechanical Birds


*Illustration by Hans Bellmer


The sky was a perfect impenetrable blue with a stillness to its move like water. Henry wanted to reach for a flat stone and knock it loose. But instead he kept on walking, earbuds pressed against the cartilage of his ears like tiny fingers pressing out sound from the outside world as a steady stream of hi-fi permeated his consciousness. He was trying his best not to think about her. But each song played a different memory. Each lyric spoke of her beauty. It is funny how memory works. The air was thick with the smell of jasmine, and even that triggered his memory; he was a loaded gun and she was the bullet. Every other song streaming through the wires to the tiny fingers pressed to ears was interrupted by his phone ringing a sound like an electrocardiographic heart monitor—beep   beep   beep    beep   beep   beep   beep…


Every atom in his body wanted to answer, to hear her voice, coming across the lines like a melody. But he couldn’t, he couldn’t, he couldn’t answer the call. That would mean the undoing of his heart again, with one word from her pressed to his ear like a kiss. And hadn’t she treated it poorly? Hadn’t she led him to believe he was offering his heart to safe and capable hands? Some hands only know how to break. Hers were hands that possessed the delicate facade of a bird and hit like a bulldozer, there was nothing birdlike in their machinery.


beep  beep  beep    beep     beep      beep       beep        beep———————-


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