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City Pigeon

A short story about finding peace

By Meldra V.Published about a month ago 7 min read
City Pigeon
Photo by Sujoy Paul on Unsplash

I am a city dweller. I have spent my whole life in a whirlpool of cigarette smoke. The bread of the homeless is my feast. The street artist's guitar music is my lullaby.

As a little bird, I have loved to hover around the central station and watch people going about their daily routines. There are many people for whom the place serves as a second home because they are there too often. But I really appreciate them, because they are my main source of livelihood. I am living off the leftover bread in the trash. I eat only what is given to me. In winter, though, I usually am famished. Although, from what I have heard from my pigeon friends, winter in the cities is really not as harsh as in the countryside.

Once, driven by my hunger, I had an argument with a local homeless man. It was the dead of winter, the pavement coated in muddy snow. The man was sitting on a bench in the central station square, looking at me with bleary and bored eyes, holding a piece of bread in his hand, apparently beckoning me over. I walked towards the dubious-looking man slowly, slowly, but every time I was about to take the piece of bread from his hand, the man quickly drew it away from me. He was bored, I could see. Unlike the pigeons, people in the cities have a depressing aura around them. They snooze and close their eyes to the outside world, like this man, for example. They cannot appreciate all the beauty that is around them.

I am no ordinary pigeon. I am the most urban of all the pigeons in the city. The man at the central station played with my hunger. I thought I would play with his desperation. The man waved his hand away several times, but I got tired of his games. I bit into a piece of bread and the man's index finger at the same time. He grunted and started to shake his hand aggressively, but I did not let go, I had honestly earned the piece of bread I was being tempted with. He did not undestand what this peace of bread meant to me. He consumed to live, not to enjoy. The man stood up and tried to push me away with his other hand, but I held on as long as my strength allowed me. And, see, in the end I let go of the hand, earning my daily bread! In some unintelligible language the man then staggered away, took hold of his loaf and, carefully moving his wounded hand, went off in an unknown direction.

I was not afraid of people. I felt like the ruler of the city until one awfully strange day.

I used to like to sit on trains. Watching people step onto different ground for the first time, standing, crying, hugging before saying goodbye to their loved ones, to their city. Maybe this absentee will only be met by his relatives in another ten years, when the body and soul has accumulated experience.

One day I was walking along the platform, the same platform where all the people I have observed have walked. I used to make up individual stories for these dwellers - the old woman with the pink tulips in her hands, for instance, perhaps going to visit her younger sister she had not seen for years. A young man going to visit his girlfriend. A woman in a black suit going to the funeral of her mother.

The old woman holding the pink tulips caught my eye. She was wearing a pink dress typical of young girls. It was the middle of summer, a holiday, judging by the fact that it was midday and there were colourfully dressed people walking around on the platform. She was sitting on a bench, watching the train that was about to leave. A small umbrella stood resting on the old lady's legs, and a beige bag was placed nearby, on top of which I could see a light blue picnic blanket.

I watched this woman carefully. When the doors opened on the old fashioned train, she took hold of her belongings and got on. It seemed to me that this woman was very different from the people I used to look at every day in central station. She was well on in years, but so cheerful that she reminded me of a little girl. Like me, she seemed to look at the city and her world contented and cheerful. I wanted to follow her and see who exactly she would give her beautiful pink tulips to, perhaps to understand her secret, to know what in her human life inspired her to live with such a peaceful heart.

So I boarded the train, flew up the entrance stairs, then carefully under the chairs I went in search of this strange woman. There were a few people whose eyes turned in my direction, but they did nothing, just continued to sit and stare either at their phone, or at a book, or at the repair work being done outside next to the train. I tiptoed and tiptoed until I decided to be brave, to open my wings and fly up to the ceiling of the train and land on a bag that was supported by yellowish metal bars. The woman took a book in her hands, pulling it out of the depths of the carryall. She read the book for rest of the journey.

Where I was going, I did not know. But there were many different sights to see through the windows. Houses appeared less and less often, and the summer trees outside the windows were glowing in wonderful green light. At one point another train passed by, and I saw the faces of the people on the next train merge into a single blur. Later, tall, dark green pine trees appeared, then the woman put the book back in her bag. The train stopped, people were rushing towards the doors to get closer to the tall pine trees. When the old woman climbed out, I followed her, careful not to let any of the travelers hit me.

I had never smelled such a strange air in my life. It smelled of salt and trees and made me dizzy. And it was quiet. The only sounds I could hear were distant people talking, cars inconspicuously roaring in the distance. Tiny birds that were walking on the platform, talking in a language I did not understand, caught my eyes. Keeping my focus on the old lady, I snuffled my way over to the three birds sitting on the platform bench.

"What is this place?" I asked them.

Suddenly the birds chirped together. They started flapping their wings, all three of them flew into the air. I felt that they wanted me to follow them. The old lady was sorting her things on the platform. We did not fly far with the birds, just up and up. As we flew over the station, we saw a delightful view. The dark pines formed a sea of green. Where the pines grew fewer, a beige colour opened up, with a dark, dark blue expanse beyond. People, like coloured dots, formed a beautiful composition, enriching the beige background. For a while we circled the same place over and over, as if we were forming infinity in the air.

I bid goodbye to the birds. They flew away towards the blue expanse. I flew to the pink lady, saw that she was about to go to the near forest path, as content as she had been all the way. I flew with her, watching my surroundings as I had never observed in my life. Splashes of green and brown enveloped this place, it was bursting with yellow butterflies and violet flowers by the tree branches. She walked and walked through the pine trees and then reached the vast beach. Spreading out her blanket, she sat on it, put a book and her pink tulips on it, her other belongings together with the pink umbrella in the sand. And she kept on reading. I sat on a branch of a small pine tree nearby the coast and watched.

It is not typical for city pigeons to think philosophical thoughts, but I did catch myself thinking about the simplicity of the world. And how people regularly take a break from the environment they themselves created. I felt a little lost, I did not feel like a city ruler anymore, because I realized that one city means nothing in this boundless land. The three little birds were as big rulers and heroes as I was. Aware of my insignificance, I creeped over to the woman sitting on the warm sand of the seaside. She looked at me curiously, then continued to stare at her book. I sat down next to the woman on the blue blanket. We both sat and listened to the waves for a lengthy time until the woman put down her book and closed her eyes, and I closed my eyes, and we both fell asleep, enveloped by the cool and salty air of the sea. The seagulls sung us lullabies as we dreamed of wildflowers.


About the Creator

Meldra V.

Sharing my ideas with the world and experimenting with writing.

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Comments (1)

  • Alex H Mittelman about a month ago

    This is a great story! Hope it gets top story, really enjoyed!!! 😀 I never knew pigeons were so deep!

Meldra V.Written by Meldra V.

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