Paper Birds

All mornings, bright birds show up at my window. Their jubilant canticles light up my room like sunbeams, displacing darkness back to its recondite corners. All the habitants of my dreams recluse themselves in the oniric reflection of my vivid reality.

My eyes adjust to the light, while my logic mind still battles to discern if my nightmares were just a product of my imagination. If people had truly visited me last night. If the events I witnessed were indeed an omen of the future. And if the fears embodied in beasts haunting me, were, in fact, real.

But it doesn’t matter anymore, my obligations pull me into a mechanized state in order to achieve my ordinary duties. Soon the night affairs are forgotten, replaced by the endless cycle of see, think, process, act and produce.

An item arrives carried by the conveyor belt: a book, a household, makeup, or clothing, literally anything. I evaluate the dimensions and pick the right box size. I cut it, adapt it, glue it, seal it with tape and finally stamp the sticker with the destination. The box continues its way through the shipping process. The wonders of supply chain, I say to myself imagining the distant and even exotic destinations to which all these packages should fly or sail to. And my mind wanders with ludicrous ideas of packing myself into one of those addresses the computer instructs me to. What would the recipient think when opened the box and find me inside? Anger? Amusement? Delight? Would it file a merchandise return to the company?maybe.

I quiet my restless mind, looking around, finding myself surrounded by endless lines racks resembling tall buildings with narrow streets, congested with the traffic of lift trucks. The habitants of this city are the products waiting to be shipped. Waiting to abandon the totality of the masses for the quiet individuality. Waiting for stop being a number more of an extensive list and become the one.

The conveyor belt finally stops, granting me peace to enjoy my lunch. I sprawl on the floor, eating my ham and olive sandwich looking in to the window at the top of the wall. The small window only portraits a pinch of the blue sky. I cut a piece of paper and fold it into a plane, and then I throw it into the airs with the vague hope that would make it into the window but crashes against the wall, a couple of feet down.

I shaped another piece into a new paper plane, bolder and aerodynamically superior to the previous one but my new attempt smashes the wall at the right height but to the far left of the window.

But even the failure produced some satisfaction—the satisfaction brought by memories.

I see myself at seven, playing with my older brother with the same paper planes, pushing our imaginations to create the perfect plane as if we could ride it and will take us away to one of those places we envisioned to meet. But realize that back then we had the same flight issues as today, but my brother came with a brilliant solution, “the problem is planes exhaust their fuel, that’s why they fall, but a bird, it will fly forever as long as it has the will to fly,” he said, and from that moment we did only origami cranes he had learned to do in school.

I take the remaining sheet of paper and create two origami cranes the better I can. And before going back to work, I look around for making sure nobody sees me and I climb to a rack at the side of the window and extend my arm to leave the two birds on the frame, hoping they will find its way back home.

Then I return to the conveyor belt and keep packing the dreams of a million people.

M. Ch. Landa

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