Sometimes life just gets on top of you. My boyfriend ditched me, the company I worked for went bust so I lost my job, and then I had the car accident. It wasn't my fault but my car was a write-off and I ended up with a shattered leg.
I was beginning to go stir-crazy being cooped up indoors. All the things you take for granted suddenly became insurmountable mountains. No more jump into the car and drive to the supermarket when I ran out of bread. No more dashing to catch the train or the bus for work. Not even grabbing a cab to meet friends for a boozy night out. Even if I made it to the pub I couldn't do the stroll along the road to dance the night away at the local nightclub. A trip to the loo could well involve a mountain of stairs to climb so it was easier to stay at home.
There is only so much daytime television you can take before you realise that every channel is a repeat of the ones you have been watching all day.
It was an exceptionally hot summer, which was both good and bad. The heat made my plaster cast itch like mad, and despite having free time, I couldn't take myself off to the local lido for a refreshing swim. Even sitting in the garden stressed me out. I had taken pride in my small garden, mowed the lawn and cultivated my flowers, but now the weeds were taking over and there was nothing I could so about it. At least I could still watch the birds building their homes and producing their offspring.
My bird table was always stocked up, particularly in the winter months when food was scarce. At least that was one thing I could still do. Now I had time on my hands I made a point of being in the garden around five o'clock when the birds returned to settle down for the night.
I came to recognise many of the regulars, and they knew and trusted me. Their singing lifted my spirits as time wore on and my leg didn't really improve, especially when the physician's report was such a shock.
'Well, the fracture has not healed exactly as we hoped, but we still have other options. I would suggest surgery to break the bone where it has attached incorrectly and rebuild it. Although it will mean a few more months in a cast, that's better than having a permanent limp. Sleep on it overnight and let me have your decision tomorrow. If you agree we can schedule the operation for early next week.'
I left the hospital in a daze. Could things get any worse? If I didn't have the procedure I could end up a cripple; if I did there was still no guarantee it would work. There wasn't even anyone to talk it over with.
It was dusk when I got home but I decided to sit on the garden bench for a while to think things through. I must have dropped off because the next thing I knew it was dark, but a hundred tiny voices were reverberating in my ear.
I opened my eyes and saw I was surrounded by birds; sparrows, tits, robins, and blackbirds, all chattering away as if they were discussing important business. It was weird but I could understand every word. They were talking about me.
'So, has anyone an idea how we can help? What about you owl? You're meant to be the clever one.'
'Let me ponder for a while, and I'll see what I can come up with.'
'That's no good, she hasn't got a lot of time to make a decision.'
'I damaged my leg once but it didn't really hinder me. It was just a little difficult taking off.'
'That's because most of the time you fly, not walk.'
'Of course, that's the answer.'
'What is? I don't understand.'
'It's obvious. We help her to fly.'
I found myself soaring through the air, the uplift from a thousand wings keeping me buoyant as I swooped and flew through the clouds without a care in the world.
'Welcome back. You'll be pleased to know the operation was a complete success. You should be up and running around as good as new within a few weeks. I'll get someone to bring you a hot drink and then you can sleep off the rest of the anaesthetic, and be home by the weekend. From the smile on your face, you were having a lovely dream so you might want to get back to it.'
A few days later I left the hospital and after several weeks on crutches, my leg was as good as new. The insurance replaced my car, I got a better job and the owner of the pet shop where I buy my wild bird seed asked me out on a date.
Life was good again, but sometimes when the breeze is right the birds gather and take me with them, wheeling and circling through the clouds leaving all the problems of the world far behind me.