THE EMPTY NEST
Her life has been what we call difficult. Beauty does not overcome hardships. Often it only raises expectations. She is young, but she is broken.
It is dark and silent when she finds them cold, alone, peeking out from under some brush. Carefully collecting them, she makes her way back to her hideaway.
Sad and isolated, she welcomes them home. Caring for the eggs gives her purpose, and that is helping her cope. So, she watches and waits. Of course, she has heard the myths of mothers abandoning their little ones. Good mothers don't do that. She would certainly never do that. Well, at the very least, she would need an excellent reason. She read once that it's not true that birds abandon their young if a human touches them. Although it is best not to interfere. Humans can leave a scent trail that leads predators right to the nest. Sadly, there are occasions when the mother has no other choice than to permanently surrender their eggs. A predator may be terrorizing her. Perhaps the mother becomes injured. Or worse.
She has waited such an awfully long time for them to wake up to the world, but they never try to escape their safe little cells. After many months of searching, she has found each of them their own little castle. Maybe this will coax them out of their delicate shells.
Weeks turn into months and those months into years. She becomes increasingly impatient. Looking intently at the frail enclosures, she notices small cracks. She stares in disbelief, in hopes that they are at last going to emerge. Yet the eggs now appear to be noxious, rancid, spoiled.
A deeply buried memory begins to push to the surface. She feels disoriented, dazed, and a little bit dizzy as if awakened in the middle of a fever nightmare. Her stomach lurches and she begins to sweat. She understands now that she never should have abandoned these eggs so long ago. Good mothers don't do that.
Now she is once again alone. As the despair overtakes her, she decides it's best to bury the eggs where she found them. She painstakingly cleans them and delivers a prayer. A proper funeral is executed.
On her return from the burial, she finds tiny toy birds that must belong to children. She collects them to bring home. They should not be alone. Her new babies are quiet, so well behaved. Really, she has mostly forgotten about the others.
One dark and silent night when she searches for her babies’ dinner, she finds them cold, alone, peeking out from under some brush. Carefully collecting them, she makes her way back to her hideaway.