The artist at six - Moravia, New York 1958
Abha, who has created several poems for the Seeking Kali blog that I co-curate, saw the photograph and asked if she could write a story based on the image. I thought "what serendipity" because I have no memory of what I might have been thinking or wishing for with my eyes closed and about to blow out the candles.
This is the story of my forgotten memory by Abha Iyengar
Cakes, Candles and A Bird StoryBill looked at the candles and the cake and he smiled. He was smiling because he was thinking about the bird story. What bird story?The one his grandmother told him the night before his birthday. Of how when he turned six, which was in a few hours time, the big bird would come down from the mountians so very far away and flap its wings in front of Bill.And?And ask Bill to sit on its back and take a ride far far away, into the land of dreams.“This only happens to some children, the few chosen ones, the ones who listen carefully to grandmother’s stories.”Bill had understood.“I have informed the big bird about your seriousness regarding stories. Perhaps he will come.”Bill had looked at his grandmother and given her the sweetest of smiles. He had been unable to sleep, the excitement had been too much for him.He was wide awake now, sittting in front of the cake and wondering whether he could blow the candles, eat the cake, ride on the big bird, go to the land of dreams and still be back for school?Grandmother had not told him anything more in the night. He would just have to wait and find out.He sat there watching the candles and waiting for his mother and grandmother to come with the plates from the kitchen and wished for something that he really wanted.He heard the doorbell ring. Birds did not ring doorbells, did they?He sat quietly, not breathing, not moving.From the corner of his eye he saw someone walk in. He recognized a pair of shoes. He must be dreaming. He closed his eyes, and there it was, the big bird in front of his eyes. It was flapping its wings.When Bill opened his eyes, his father stood there, his arms open for him to run into them. They were big and wide, just like a bird’s wings.Since then, Bill knows grandmother stories are all that the world needs to believe in. He was a special boy at six, the one who believed and still does.*****© Abha Iyengar, March 2012A birthday gift to Bill