Microfiction for the Daily Post prompt: flourish.
“Just hang the cage in the window, darlin’. You’ll see. A bit of sunshine an’ he’ll be singing his little heart out.”
She took the canary home, amazed that a bird would be content in such a small cage, but the bird man had said it wouldn’t need any more space. Her son-in-law fixed a hook for the cage in the kitchen window. It was always full of sun and people and cars going past. The bird would have plenty to look at, she thought. It seemed happy enough, hopping back and forth between the two perches, and it sang so prettily. She listened as she chopped up onions and carrots for the soup and tried to remember when the apartment had last felt so homely.
In the evening, when the sun had gone and the air was growing cooler, she brought the bird inside and closed the window. It wasn’t much to look at, with its drab greenish feathers. Not really yellow at all, she thought critically, and paid the silent bird no more notice.
For days the canary sang in the window, and she found the song brought back sunny memories, of when the children were small and she had been at the heart of a family. The wave had moved on, she thought. The children had their own lives now, and she was left washed up beyond the high tide line with the empty shells and driftwood. The bird sang its song and it was almost like hearing the prattle of children again.
She admired its tenacity. Such a fragile little thing, yet it produced a torrent of sound, unfailingly, all through the sunny day. In the evening when the street lights came on, she closed the shutters, and they shared their silence, she and the bird.
On the seventh day, the morning broke dull and drizzly. The bird was lying in the bottom of its cage, claws reaching skyward, curled like the narrow petals of a dried flower. It had sung its heart out, she thought, and for the first time felt a pang of guilt that she had ever pretended such beauty could flourish in a cage.
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