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A Friend With Wings

Updated on January 27, 2020

A friend with wings

Title: A friend with wings

By Esa Myllylä

It had rained during the day and the mothers and fathers brought their children to preschool. They had been told that the children had been in because of the bad weather. Tom had, as usual, big problems with getting his feet in his boots. He had with great difficulty got the first boot and would wear his second boot too and then what always happened. Tom dropped the balance, fell backwards and landed on the butt. That's what the other kids had been waiting for, they all laughed at Tom. Lars, as usual, could not help but comment.
"You are six years old and can't get your boots on, that was when I was three years old, did I do that dad?" He said, looking up at his dad who nodded and smiled and answered his son:
"Yes, of course, Lars, you are so good at tying your own shoes, too."

Lars stared at Tom, who sat on the floor red in his face. Tom was angry and pulled the other boot with an effort. Mom Sofia was red in the face she too but not out of anger but instead she was embarrassed by her clumsy son. She still felt a great need to defend her son. She stretched herself so that she was straight in the back and said:
"Yes, he may need bigger boots, they are probably too small."

It made the parents nod and some grinned, but no one said anything. Tom and his mother had a bit to go to the car in the parking lot. Mom Sofia had once again been told by the Miss that Tom had just sat by himself and did not care about the other children.
"Why don't you play with the others?" She asked her son. "You know, after all, we talked about not being able to make friends if you don't invite yourself."
“They are so boring, they just want to play their own games. Not mine. "
"But if you play their games then they might want to play your games."
"Yes, I did, but then Lars comes and destroys and says I can't play."

Mom Sofia promised herself that tomorrow she will talk to the Misses about Lars. Though it wasn't the first time she did it. She remembered the time when Lars had clutched mud in Tom's eyes who didn't dare go to preschool for a good while after that. She was still angry about how she and Tom had been treated that day.

Tom had eaten dinner and was on his way to the climbing post which was not far from his home. It was wet outside because it had rained. He blew on a harmonica he had received in a Christmas present last Christmas by his dad who lived with his other family. He was missing his dad that he had to meet every other weekend.

Tom stopped blowing the harmonica as he looked away at the demolition house on the other side of the climbing post. The front of the house was already demolished and the old apartments were open to everyone's eyes. Dirty yellow old wallpaper hung half demolished and abandoned on the walls of the old three-stores apartment building. An odd scent of old wood and dusty mortar moved through the air to Tom's nose. He felt the smell of something old and dilapidated. A ladder was leaning toward the second floor.

Tom had forgotten that he was not allowed to go to the demolition house. My mother had become very angry when he had been there recently and had torn his pants on a rusty nail. But the steps that leaned toward the demolition house attracted him because he wanted to try what it was like to climb it. It smelled of food from the barracks next door. He saw that the construction jobs were in the barracks, so he went straight to the steps. It was wet on the steps because it had rained. Tom put the harmonica in his pocket and he started to climb. He slipped on the first step but he wanted up to the second floor so he continued. When he reached the second floor, he was still standing on the steps. Tom looked back, it was far down and he got scam and his legs trembled. He immediately decided to go down the steps. Suddenly he slipped and fell. It went so fast that at first he did not really understand what had happened. But then he felt it hurt one leg and he looked at it and saw that the leg was twisted in an unnatural way away from him. Tom began to cry.

Inside the barracks where the builders belonged, there was noise when chairs were moved. The door to the barracks opened quickly and hit the barracks wall with a bang and swearing old men rushed up to Tom. One of the construction workers knocked out his arms and said:
"Well, you see guys, I told you that the boy would come back now, we will bark at his mother again," he sighed. The builders were quick to comfort Tom and the ambulance was quickly in place.

On the laser, they had plastered his broken legs. Two months had passed since then and the plaster had been removed. Tom was with Dad Bertil over the weekend and they walked slowly on the park so Tom didn't make the effort. It wasn't the first time they were in the park. When he had his leg plastered, Dad used to roll Tom with the wheelchair.

Tom and his dad continued to walk slowly along the park road. It would have been lonely for Tom when his legs were plastered. First, his class came to visit with the girls from the preschool, but then they had ignored him. He was sad about it, but worst of all was that Mom had quarreled with him often because he had gone to the construction site though he couldn't. Suddenly a bird was heard whistling loudly. They found the bird on the grass next to a park bench.
"What's wrong with that dad?" Tom asked.
"It seems to have hurt on the wing," Bertil answered his son.
"Dad we have to take it to the hospital right away!"

They took the injured bird to a veterinarian who corrected the injured wing and wrapped it around. Tom had to take care of the bird. And his happiness shone in his eyes that it can only when a child is such a stormy joy where no worldly sorrows seemed to exist. He was so happy.

Tom named Bert the bird to his grandfather who died recently. Tom said Bert and he could talk to each other. Mom and Dad laughed at it at first, Tom was sad that Mom and Dad didn't believe him, but then Tom ignored it because he knew Bert understood him. Then came the day when the bird would be released. That decided mom and dad. They said it was born free and must live as a free bird. Tom cried when he saw it fly away, but he knew it was right to release it. It was not a day when he missed it.

One day, when Tom was alone, he was on his way to the climbing post and on the other side of the climbing post, where the old demolished house had been, they were building a new apartment building on three floors. Tom saw that they had built the stairs and he was curious and wanted to go and test it. He had completely forgotten that he was not allowed to go there. Just as Tom was about to climb the stairs, a bird came and flapped wildly in front of him. Tom recognized the bird, it was Bert. He understood that the bird wanted to warn him and now he remembered what happened the last time he was at the construction site. He got really scared. He looked for the bird that flew to the climbing post and he ran after Bert.

The bird had sat at the top of the climbing post. He was happy to see him again and hoped it would not fly away when he climbed up. The bird was left and it jumped up on Tom's head and flapped his wings so eagerly that Tom started laughing. He laughed and laughed so much that the construction workers started laughing too. And the ants below the climbing post couldn't hold themselves to laughter either and it was as if the whole world was laughing. Tom was happy.

The bird Bert became Tom's secret friend and they met at the climbing position but Tom missed Bert at the preschool. He didn't want to go there at all; One day he said to the bird:
"I wish you would come along to school."
The bird tilted its head and looked at Tom with eyes that understood.

The next day, Tom was in the school yard to himself as he used to be. Tom had played ball with a new boy in the class and then Lars came and stole the ball and now Lars played ball with the new boy. Tom was so angry that he wanted to beat up Lars, but he didn't dare. Lars was stronger than he was. Suddenly Tom felt something flap on his cheek and Bert sat on his shoulder:
"No, but Bert!" Tom shouted happily and laughed.

Everyone in the yard heard it and little ones like big kids rushed around and surrounded Tom and Bert and everyone laughed and even Lars did. From that day Tom was never alone. And the Misses had no trouble getting the kids out of the school yard when it rained. For everyone wanted to say goodbye to Tim's friend Bert, who was waiting for a currant bush in the school yard at Tom and all other children.

© 2020 Esa Myllylä

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