On the Songs of Sunlit Sparrows
by Chris Biles
Tired, you drag your feet down the corridor and out into the atrium – the atrium with its high, creamy skylight ceiling. The sun shines through in a half-light that stops your feet. They lose their direction. You stand there, suddenly reawakened from your tired daze, only to fall helplessly into another sort of daydream; knocked to your metaphorical knees by nostalgia, that sort of nebulous nostalgia that leaves you grasping for all that you know you need, but cannot identify. Then your trance is broken once again as a sparrow comes twittering from the rafters to land beside you, its small feet click-clicking quietly as it hops on the tiled floor. All you can do is stare; let the short echoes of its mellifluous chirps hollow you out; flee from your body as the bird flies up to the creamy skylight, knowing the sun means freedom, but can also mean false hope.
And there it sits on a cold, metal beam, mocked by the light to which is sings. And there you stand, in a bright sort of dimness as your feet remember their purpose, and your mind decides it’s best to simply walk away with a sigh, rather than try to decide what it is about that nostalgic light that draws you in, that makes you feel as though you’ll never be whole, as though every moment of your life is just that moment between the golden hour of late afternoon and the impending, inevitable dusk. You sigh, feel the hollowness fill you in its lonely, purposeful way, and then leave the sunlit sparrow to sing its salient songs.