Grandma’s Birds

That evening, a green-eyed brown bird spies on a Grandma, in a garden. With little beady eyes, a bird flies by and says I love you. She wants Grandma to fly, too, but Grandma just looks at the bird and smiles. Grandma loves the birds in her garden and wishes she could fly like one. She loves them because they seem to be poor little creatures, defenseless and flying is their way to freedom.

Every day she spreads breadcrumbs on the grass. She says to God, “I look after yours and you look after mine.”

The birds gobble up the breadcrumbs. They need energy so eat bread to fly from place to place.

When Grandma goes to bed she thinks about happy, singing birds. She thinks about what they might be saying in their songs. The songs could be messages from angels.

Grandma thinks about those lovely sounding angelic messages and wonders what they could mean. She often thought of love when she dreamt of the glimmer in the birds’ eyes.

The next day, a cloudy day, Grandma gets grumpy when the cat comes running over. The cat stares at the birds. Then tiptoes towards them like a hunter. The birds cannot see the white cat coming and the cat is not wanting to play. Grandma thinks it would be nice if cats could be friend instead of foe.

Grandma chased the big white cat out of the garden. The cat ran away, scared. He was so scared he jumped quicker than lightning over the concrete wall.

The cat sulked all day because he could not catch a bird at Grandma’s house. If the big cat was nice Grandma might let him play.

Grandma longs for a day when cats and birds could be friends.

Meantime, she puts breadcrumbs on the grass and hopes the cat does not come back. After all, she scared it away, didn’t she?

That evening, after school, Grandma’s grandson and granddaughter came over for a visit. She thinks visits are exciting and enjoys company very much.

Sometimes, the young ones do not get along, but Grandma understands. She knows they are busy and do not always have the time to be nice. They get stressed. But when they chat with Grandma and have cups of tea, everything is good in the world. Grandma smiles. “You look after mine, and I look after yours.”

That night, Grandma was alone, and she felt sad because she could not fly. Even so, the birds, in the garden, think Grandma is just like one of them, an adopted friend. Grandma would like to fly with the birds, but she does not have wings. She does not have to. When she is happy, in her heart, she flies with the best of the birds.


The class’s perception of my short story writing was important to me. After all, it would be my first ever feedback on a short story I wrote. After sharing (twenty-odd years ago), one person commented that my writing sounded noire. The piece wasn’t in the noir genre, it only sounded noir, so the person said. Noir or noire is the French word for black. I was a bit confused. This was never my intention.

But I was complimented because I thought my work might have sounded like a thriller of the classic Film Noir. This, of course, is with the likes of cinema’s hard-boiled detective stories. But my story was not truly noir.

The perception that the story sounded noir is what mattered, as the writer is supposed to communicate to the reader something. The reader perceives what that is.

How I had failed as writer, then. Actually, being told that my writing sounded noire, took me off-guard. Yes, the noir or black tone might have been how I was feeling about an experience, which was kind of negative and dark. But I wasn’t thinking through how my writing would be perceived as noir. I wasn’t anticipating it would be seen as black or dark. The reader’s perception matters to a writer and shows me that what I write is always communicating. The medium is the message.