A Different Blue Page 47

The weeks following my move were the happiest I had ever spent. I hit the thrift shops and the garage sales to furnish my new home and fill my new closet, and my wardrobe underwent a drastic transformation. Gone were the skin tights jeans and low cut tops. Gone were the short shorts and boob tubes. I found I liked color – lots of it – and dresses were cooler in Nevada than even shorts, so the majority of my purchases were sundresses in happy shades and cool fabrics, with the added bonus that there was room for my expanding midsection.

My home became my haven, a heaven, and I pinched myself everytime I returned. Even the fear of what the future would bring did not dim my pleasure in my new place. If I saw something a a garage sale that I could afford and it made me happy, I bought it. The result was a bright yellow vase with a chip in it, and an apple green throw on my couch, surrounded by red and yellow throw cushions Mrs Darwin didn't want anymore. Mismatched dishes in bright colors and throw rugs to match filled the cupboards and covered the floors.

I sanded down the table and chairs from the basement and painted them barn red. Then I placed three glass canisters with wooden stoppers in the center and filled one with red cinnamon bears, one with skittles, and one with chocolate kisses. And and no one ate them but me. I found a cuckoo clock with a bluebird that chirped on the hour and bronze Julius Caesar bookends for five dollars at a garage sale. The bookends made me laugh and think of Wilson, so I bought them. I built myself a book shelf – working with wood has its more practical advantages – painted it apple green to match my throw, and filled it with every book I owned and every book Jimmy had ever owned. My two Caesars guarded them seriously, keeping them aligned like obedient soldiers. My wooden snake and a carving Jimmy and I had done together sat atop it, along with the housewarming gift Wilson had surprised me with.

I had come home after my first big day of shopping to find a little package outside my door. It had a note attached and BLUE written across the envelope in bold letters. I unlocked the door and dumped my bags in the entryway, unable to contain my curiousity.

I opened the package first – I couldn't help myself. The card could wait. Inside was a little porcelain blackbird with bright blue eyes. It was dainty and well-formed, with fine detailing and sooty feathers. Standing in the palm of my hand, it was maybe four inches tall from head to foot. I placed it carefully on my countertop and tore open the card bearing my name.


You never finished your story. The blackbird needed a safe place to land. I hope she's found it. Congratulations on your new nest.


My personal history, the one I had tried and failed miserably to write, was included with the note. I read it once more, noting the way I'd left it, with the blackbird hurtling toward the earth, unable to right herself.

Once upon a time there was a little blackbird who was pushed from the nest, unwanted. Discarded. Then a Hawk found her and swooped her up and carried her away, giving her a home in his nest, teaching her to fly. But one day the Hawk didn't come home, and the bird was alone again, unwanted.

She wanted to fly away. But as she rose to the edge of the nest and looked out across the sky, she noticed how small her wings were, how weak. The sky was so big. Somewhere else was so far away. She felt trapped. She could fly away, but where would she go?

She was afraid because she knew she wasn't a hawk. And she wasn't a swan, a beautiful bird. She wasn't an eagle, worthy of awe. She was just a little blackbird.

She cowered in the nest hiding her head beneath her wings, wishing for rescue. But none came. The little blackbird knew she might be weak, and she might be small, but she had no choice. She had to try. She would fly away and never look back. With a deep breath, she spread her wings and pushed herself off into the wide blue sky. For a minute she flew, steady and soaring, but then she looked down. The ground below rose rapidly to meet her as she panicked and cartwheeled toward the earth.

I dug into my purse and found a pen. Sitting down at the table, I added a few more lines.

At the last minute, the bird looked upward, fixing her sights on the horizon. As she raised her head and straightened her wings, she began to fly instead of fall, the wind beneath her lifting her back into the sky.

It was silly and cheesy. But I felt better for having written it. It wasn't an ending, exactly, but maybe it was a new beginning. Then I folded up Wilson's letter and my story and tucked them into a copy of Dante's Inferno that I knew I would never read but that would forever make me think of harpies and history, heartache and holding on.

In the weeks that followed, I was suspended in a happy timelessness. My baby's birth was still far enough in the future that I could push thoughts of motherhood away, even as I began regular visits to the doctor, having made no real decision beyond acceptance. I had accepted that I would not be ending my pregnancy. I would be giving birth. I owned that responsibility. I claimed it. I was living on my own, working in the cafe, and selling my carvings. And I was happy. Beyond that, I just didn't know.

When Tiffa sold four more of my sculptures, I stopped placing them at the cafe, simply because I couldn't meet the demands of both and Tiffa could sell them for so much more. I apologized to Beverly, explaining my dilemma.

“That is wonderful, Blue!” she said firmly, resting her hand on my arm. “You have nothing to be sorry for! Don't apologize for success! Are you crazy? I might have to smack you up side the head, girl!” She squeezed me tightly and then pulled me into her office, shutting the door behind us.

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