Swans and Angels

And although you’re feeling ill, although your legs are weak, and although you have a fever, the bright sun coming out between the showers and the knowledge that the swan family exists entice you over to the park. I sort of made it my mission to keep an eye on that little family during my leave from work. It’s the sort of thing my father would have done before he became housebound. This would be a fitting tribute to a man who loved nature.

The woman was there with her dog. The swans did their line up: father, children, mother, and swam towards us. The woman told me all about the swans. She and another woman had been keeping an eye on them. The new male – they were sure he wasn’t the old mate – had turned up from nowhere. It had taken them three goes to make a family. The first time their nest was destroyed and the second time their eggs were stolen. It had almost ended in disaster again as the pen had got fishing wire stuck in her beak. The RSPCA had taken her away to get her cleaned up and the cob had almost died of grief. But she came back and they succeeded at last.

‘Would you walk down the nature trail with me?’ the woman asked.

‘Better not,’ I said. ‘I told my husband I’d only be a few minutes. And I’m waiting for a call from a funeral director.’

Her face fell. Embarrassment. Sympathy.

‘I’m going to have to get used to this,’ I thought.

I told her about my dad. I didn’t mention, though, that I didn’t think my jelly legs would take me far. I didn’t want to cause alarm. I sort of knew that even this illness was a gift. It wasn’t for passing on. It was for taking the edge off my grief. But you couldn’t tell that to a stranger, could you?

Or maybe you could.

She looked to the ground.

‘Oh look,’ she said. ‘They’ve left us a feather. You’d better take it in memory of your dad.’

Gill James is an author and lecturer in creative writing at Salford University. This story is the prequel to one coming out in “Gentle Footprints” an anthology from Bridge House Publishing, which she co-edited. http://gilljames.blogspot.com/

Pages: 1 2 3 4



2 Responses to “Swans and Angels”

  1. May 01, 2010 at 3:37 pm, Iain Robinson said:

    Beautifully written.

  2. August 08, 2010 at 4:29 pm, stanners said:

    very good it show how with optimism and help we cn live through the tough


Leave a Reply




Via email: