The Bird With a Broken Wing: A Short Story by Felisa Daskeo
Trisha looked out from her bedroom window on the second floor of her mansion. It had been a year now since Jim left. And it was a relief to note that she survived the days, alone in her life; without a job, friends, and a husband. Her only company were the maids in the house, whom she had often avoided. She was advised by friends not to trust them too much for they often exaggerated gossips.
For a year, she had hibernated, often unaware of the day and ignorant about the events outside her mansion. She felt better that way with no one ever hurting her and no one giving her trouble. Jim was out of her life like the flash of a lightning. She promised herself not to rewind the sad memories, instead forget Jim and move on.
Trisha Madrigal was a budding fashion designer at the age of twenty. Young as she was, as aggressive as her mind, as modern as the latest fad, she circulated with the elite in her circle of friends. They were a bunch of young people, unmindful of tomorrow and just enjoying life to the fullest.
Jim was part of the group. He was a school dropout, but developed an undying love for motorcycles and became a motorcycle racer. The son of a rich clan in Davao, he was afforded no first hand discipline by his very busy parents and was left with only the nannies and the maids at home. He learned to lie to siphon money from his parents, who didn’t apply strict rules for their lone son.
Jim would drop by every night at Trisha’s place and picked her up for a joy ride in his handsome motorcycle, the price which is more expensive than a car. The bar and discos were their hangout and oftentimes it would be morning when they would end the night.
Trisha and Jim got married at a very young age. Trisha was only twenty and Jim twenty-one. They married not because they wanted to. They were forced into it because she was pregnant. She stopped earning and Jim’s parents provided them with everything - a mansion, an abundance of food, and other luxuries. What Jim lacked, they all provided including the love, care, and security. Jim of course would never be a provider, a good husband, and a good father. He became worse as days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months. With Trisha busy preparing for motherhood, Jim who was always dependent on her became despondent. He turned to booze and drugs.
Jim started hurting Trisha every day without reason. He was kind and caring when sober, but more often than not, he would be drunk or under the influence of drugs.
When a Woman Hurts
Trisha started avoiding him in bed. He was weird at times and Trisha feared for the worst to happen, especially for the life of her unborn baby. For two months she would leave the house and go home to her parents as soon as she would find out that Jim was drunk. But one night, he came home very late. Trisha was sound asleep when Jim entered the bedroom.
The first blow sent Trisha falling on the floor. She was still half asleep. When Jim lifted her and threw her on the bed, she was fully aware that she was in danger. The first thing that entered her mind was the life she was carrying. She needed to escape. Jim looked like a monster to her that moment. How she wanted to kill him to end the nightmare in her life.
She pleaded with him but to no avail. She shouted for help but no help came. All the rooms in the house were built with sound proof materials and only the walls can hear her shouts. Then, Jim went to the bathroom. With one swift glance and a warning for her not to leave the room, he went inside.
In an instant Trisha rushed to the door and ran to the maid’s quarters. They bolted the door and pushed a table against it for support. Trisha heard Jim’s shouts. A loud crashing sound was heard then loud footsteps. Trisha didn’t lose time; she picked up the phone and dialed police headquarters. She also called the security guard and Jim’s parents. When she put down the phone she felt an intense pain in her belly. When the maids put her on the bed to rest, she felt a warm liquid flowing down in her thigh, and she winced, not because of the pain but because she knew what happened. She lost her baby.
Help came fast and the policemen took Jim. Jim’s parents could not do anything to save their son. He was already hooked on drugs and he had to go to rehabilitation. Trisha was taken to the hospital and was declared out of danger but she lost her baby.
Trisha stepped away from the window. She went outside the house, to the garden, under the bright sun. The flowers were all in bloom, the colorful orchids were swaying invitingly on the branches, and Trisha touched them. The feel of the soft petals seemed to give her the strength she needed. She picked a petal and smelled it, then walked leisurely to the hammock under the acacia tree.
It was a fine day, a good day to plan the future ahead. And she did.
She got inside the house and picked up the phone. She called her best friend Marika, who had forgotten her voice and had to ask who was calling.
“Hey, Marika, this is Trisha.”
“T-triishaaa! Goodness, you’re alive my dear. So when did you think of freeing yourself from your chain? Can I see you then?”
“Finally I accepted the reality of life.”
As fast as the wind, in only a few minutes, Marika was at Trisha’s gate pressing the doorbell. The short meeting was concluded with tears from both of them. Marika just dropped by to see her friend but she had to go back to her office.
After Marika left, Trisha went out of the garden again, feeling different for the first time in more than a year. Again, she sat on the hammock and leaned on it. She must have dozed off when the little bird fell down from the tree, because when she heard the bird crying, it was already on the ground dying to live.
Slowly and carefully like the most delicate crystal, she picked up the young bird and put it in her palm. She found out that the bird broke its left wing; the reason why it wasn’t able to fly. She took the bird inside and applied ointment on the wound. The bird flapped its wings in pain then chirped loudly but after a while it stopped and seemed to doze off in silence.
Trisha called the maid and asked her to find a place for the bird and bring it to her room. She was glad that the bird didn’t die when it fell from the tree. She would take care of the bird as would a mother to her child.
When Marika dropped by to check on her friend, Trisha had already gained color to her cheeks and Marika found her smiling.
“You’re looking good now, Trisha. But you look so pale. You have to spend some time in the beach to give color to your skin. How about it Trisha?”
“Why not? I’ve been longing for that.”
“Good, Trisha. Now, you’re learning to give yourself importance.”
“I’ve learned something. It’s no use pining for the past when I can make my life fruitful.”
Trisha started her life again and made up for the lost time in her life. And as she mended her life slowly, so did the wounded bird. There wasn’t a time that she left the bird uncared for.
Trisha’s wedding anniversary was almost erased from her mind. She wanted to forget it totally and set the past aside but on that Sunday morning, things felt different. For Trisha it was a day of awakening. She could celebrate for the last time, alone or with her friends. After that she could set herself free and start all over again with a new life.
The ringing of the phone disturbed the silence in Trisha’s room. She picked up the phone and was surprised to hear the voice of her mother-in-law.
“Trisha, we have an anniversary surprise for you.” Jim’s mother didn’t hide her excitement.
“Mommy, what are you talking about?” She asked in surprise.
“Wait there. We’ll be there in an hour.” She said goodbye and the phone clicked off, giving her no time to ask again what the surprise was all about.
Trisha couldn’t believe that her mother-in-law could still remember their wedding anniversary so well as to surprise her. They weren’t so close together but they provided her with the security she needed. Maybe they thought that that was the only thing she needed, just like what they have done to their only son. They live with money ruling their lives and made it the most important thing in their existence. But Trisha couldn’t complain. She was just a daughter-in-law.
And now, in their second wedding anniversary, her in-laws were giving her a surprise. Perhaps another bunch of lies and packages of material things she doesn’t even open to make up for their son’s shortcomings.
The surprise was more than what she expected. It was a shock. It was Jim smiling at her looking his best. If this was a dream, she thought, I wish I wouldn’t wake up anymore.
But then, it wasn’t a dream. Jim was there holding her tightly and kissing her as sweetly as she had known in better times. She couldn’t believe what was happening at the moment. And her in-laws were teary-eyed as they watched both of them.
It was Jim’s mother who spoke at last.
“Trisha, I’m very sorry for everything. We had kept Jim at home for a few weeks to make sure he has purged out every bad element in his system. He’s changed and I’m sure he could make a good husband and a father now”.
Trisha couldn’t utter a word. God had heard her prayer. She held on to Jim’s and felt the importance of being a wife to him. Then released his hand and went to her room.
She looked into the cage and saw the bird flapping its wings beautifully now. It had healed and was ready to fly. She took it out, kissed its wings and set it free.
She watched the bird fly for a few minutes then turned her back and went back to Jim. Like the bird that healed, she could see a good future for her and Jim.
© 2018 Felisa Daskeo