2. First memory?
In an area that would come to be called Diem, a young boy sat with his dark silvery wings folded against the warmth of his jacket as he perched on the shakiest step of the porch to the shabby lean-to he called his home, waiting for the first burst of sunrise to snuff out dying chill in the darkness surrounding him.
He sat there in relative silence for a moment the only sounds being the occasional rustle leaves and the stirring of whatever animals within the forest nearby Dans-Les-Bois dared to get up this early too. It all had a sort of lulling effect, and the young boy would have found himself doubled over and dozed off if the sound of a window being opened hadn’t jarred him from his half-sleepy state.
“Von?” a woman called as she poked her hand out of the window to the left of where the boy was sitting, her bright blue eyes just as tired-looking as his in front of the porch light.
“Hmph?” Von replied, stretching out his arms and giving out a massive yawn, while the woman laughed good-naturedly.
“How are you holding up out there, sweetheart?” the woman asked concernedly.
“S’OK, Mom” Von replied groggily, most of his words stifled by a yawn.
“Would you like some company?” she asked. “I’d ask your brother but Dove won’t move from his bed for anybody on the weekends…”
“OK, Mama,” he said, giving off another lengthy yawn before scooting over to let his mother sit right by him on the top step of the porch.
A pair of dusty, old work boots soon replied the young woman’s face on the windowpane, then the beginnings of overalls, then the mussed-up hair covering the face of the young mother as she crawled out of the window to finally meet her son on the step underneath the porch light.
“I used like sunrises-” his mother said, reaching into the pocket of her overalls to pull out a long ancient, metal thermos. It was a good chance for me to spread my wings out and maybe even, hover off the ground for minute before my own Mama called me back inside the house for breakfast.” She whispered to her son scandalously, before unscrewing the cap of the thermos and pouring out some of its contents to hand it over to Sky. He took it gladly before gulping down the sweet elixir, and finding the normally, piping-hot chocolate drink oddly lukewarm and powdery as it hit his palate.
The first signs of daybreak came as the night sky began turning light blue.
“Do you still do it, Mom?” Von asked curiously after a few moments of sipping at his drink reluctantly.
“Not so much anymore” his mother replied. “These little stumps could barely lift a bag of feathers off the ground, let alone me, ” she said, chuckling a little sadly to herself. It was true that his mother had become so adept at keeping her own wings folded that they were almost invisible at their place on her back.
“Oooh, here comes the sun, Von!” his mother said suddenly and the reds, blues, and yellows of the new day mingled together as the contour of the morning aubade blurred and swirled as it formed against the horizon. Checking to see if the coast was clear, Von looked over at his mother for approval, peering at her with wearing a strategically-placed chocolate mustache, making his appearance as innocent and doe-eyed as possible.
Noticing her son’s expression, Von’s mother laughed and said “Alright, but this is last time-I better not see you doing it again, OK?”
Von nodded fervently to confirm his part of the promise, Von focused his attention as if willing the sun to rise simply by gazing at its light. Sky bit his bottom in anticipation as he felt the morning heat as a horde of sunbeams hit his body like many flame-tipped arrows.
Von caught his mother’s eye during this experience, and what he saw was a look of utmost happiness she’d allowed her own wings to extend. In that split-second, in that one glance, Von could see all of the weariness, all of the regrets and disappointments, all of the sadness that the world had to offe to vanish off of his mother’s face to leave behind the greatest expression of youth and tranquility; a look of joy so foreign that Von wouldn’t have believed it to be part of his mother’s face if he had not seen the look for himself. The mother smiled at her son, and the son smiled back seemed to be at peace for a time as the sun crawled to its resting place in the morning sky. But, alas, even the greatest moments last only a moment, and soon a large shadow cast over the winged pairs’ modest shack as the sun reached its early-morning zenith.
With that, Von’s mother folded her wings back with her son following suit, and there was a sudden coolness that blended in with the warmth of the early morning air as the two of them sat on the porch, draining the rest of their chocolaty-drinks in momentary silence.
Screwing the cap back onto her thermos, Von’s mother said “Alright now, baby, I tell you what-” as she managed a sad half-smile, with the familiar tired expression returning to her face, “I’ll let you get in another hour or so of sleep before breakfast, OK? I’ll get you and your brother up by the time it’s ready.”
“OK, Mom” Von answered, and the two found themselves walking back into their modest shack, leaving the morning behind them.
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