Chasing The Birds We Made
She stared at me through her wide red rimmed eyes, unblinked, adorned by dark black circles stretched in perfect curves underneath. Her hair was unkempt, her dress torn, her skin all wrinkled and tattered. Those stationary irises looked at me as if engrossed by something inches behind my skull. I forced a smile and clutched her hand, my thumb rubbing her phalanges. Her cracked lips slightly opened to reveal her yellowish brown decaying teeth that crammed inside like émigrés in the last train. Her expression displayed no emotion at all, trying to convey the buried truth of pain untold. Her pale cheeks navigated in to divulge her classic dimples that talked of those days when none of us would have imagined her to become a sick seed growing in the dark.
"Seriously, you don't want me to walk you home?” I asked, standing on my knees, pushing the wisps of ebony hair behind her ears.
“Ah, darling, I’ve been in this shit for three years. I can manage,” she said, brushing my hand aside, her eyes glassy with morphine.
“See ya then,” she said, one hand, working on the wheelchair, the other waving to me. I hesitated, then finally raised my hand. This wasn't the girl I grew up with. This was not the June I knew. She inched down the sidewalk, using her hands to turn the wheel and propel the wheelchair that encased her twisted torso and a pair of bell bottoms covering what remained of her crippled legs. A few people on the street collided with her vehicle, but she never seemed to care at all. She heard, saw, felt nothing. It was as if the whole planet moved in turbo speed whilst the world of her own was put on a pause.
A few feet before her way, she could see a beauteous little girl, walking on the pavement, holding her mother’s hand. A red ribbon, matching her tiny boots, was tied around her flaxen hair in a cute hippie style. June smiled, her dimple smile as she moved past her.
“Mama, is dat a helicotter o’er there?” she asked, her forefinger pointing to the skies where a mini chopper came flying through a clump of white cotton clouds. June’s heart skipped a beat and she stopped moving for a while.
“Jessica?” she called out my name just to check if I was still there. She opened her mouth again, trying to call a bit louder, but before she could finish the first syllable, I dashed across the sidewalk, almost tripping, and pushed the wheelchair in supersonic speed.
“It’s going this way!” I shouted into her ears, turning the wheelchair right in the bend which led to the next street.
“Jesus, Jess! What on earth are you doing?” she panicked, her bony fingers curling around the handlebars, holding them firmly. “The people, they're looking at us!”
She spat out words in the air, her brain unable to process the current situation. You could count all my thirty two teeth in that cheshire smile that was plastered on my face.
“Do you mind?” I yelled, speeding up my pace, my head rolling up and down, fighting in this quandary on whether to follow the helicopter or to focus on the road.
“Well, not really,” she mumbled, slowly loosening her grip and tilted her head up to get a good look of the flying chopper we were following. We were close; in fact, we were ahead of them. “But seriously, how old are you? Five?”
I shook my head, letting out ripples of laughter blend in the air and replied, my lungs expanding, my legs moving like pistons as I roared up and down the sidewalk. “Darling, I don’t care if I am five or forty five. Aeroplanes and helicopters, they're my thing.”
She closed her eyes and spread her arms in the air, allowing the hasty wind to entangle her thick black hair. She then opened her eyes which now saw nothing but the endless skies of clear blue to realise that it was the helicopter that was now following us.
“Jess,” she cried as fresh pails of tears rolled down her cheeks. “I am flying! I am flying!” This was exactly what I wanted. This was the June I wanted to see.
I came to a halt at the junction where humongous vehicles usually moved on the main roads on a typical Sunday morning.
“I am Jessica and this is my friend June!” I shouted at the skies, looking at the direction of the chopper, my hands cupped around my mouth.
“Don’t forget us!” June shouted too, playing her part as the word ‘us’ came reverberating back. The chopper flew past us as we watched it go in silence with a childish gleam of achieving something big surfaced on our faces. We waved to the skies maniacally as if burning fires were crawling over our calves. We then looked at each other and moved our hands in rapid circular motions like a spinning top, making sounds of toco-toco-toco, trying to imitate the helicopter.
I sat on the road of tarmac, my hands stretched back for support, laughing out heartily. Pearls of sweat surfaced on June’s forehead as she brought forward her shoulder to rub them away with her sleeve.
“It was flying so low!” I cried, bending my knees up and wrapping my arms around them.
“I know!” she squeaked back, running her tongue over her lips. The pale cheeks had turned ripe red and the queasy expression had long disappeared.
“You know what?” I said, looking into her eyes. “Perhaps, I should do this.”
“Ah Jess, it’s alright. You don’t have to walk me home,” she said as her glabella sunk in to create tiny little lines that grew out to be furrows in her forehead.
“Oh yes, of course, I am not going to walk you home,” I said, standing on my feet, stretching my knees and dusting off my harems. I rubbed my palms together and clicked my tongue, winking my left eye. This was definitely going to my diary.
I was actually turning on my laptop when I heard this helicopter and jumped out of my room to watch it. That was when this idea crossed my mind. I have my Economics exam the day after, but I know very well that if I don’t write this down now, I am never going to write this in the near future. We can deal with the exam later, this is what matters right now. So here we are! Hope you all like it ^-^ And I better get back to studying!