The whistle shrieks louder in the early morning hours. When all is quiet but nothing is still. I walk to the coffee station looking for the mug I use every day. The one I have been carrying with me since I left home for college. I am 29 years old right now, so yes, it is a precious one. The rising steam fights the existing air inside the kettle and gets louder by the time I grab the cup and tea bag. The door slams shut competing with the whistle. I woke him up early today. It will be a long morning. A tough one.

Silence creeps around my ears. I can hear my heartbeat louder and faster. But it is the birds that break the thumping of my diligent heart. They need to be fed as well. Everyone is always hungry around here. All need nourishment literally. As I open the cage to fill the bowl for the hungry souls, one of them flies out. Starting with the lamp aiming for the ceiling, it bangs into the sunroof. The painful noise jerks me out of the mesmerizing flight. The caged one aimed higher into unknown darkness. A cage it wanted to break free from. A cage that served no purpose other than existence. Its weak wings try to fly around looking for an out, but we don’t keep windows open here. All is shut, all is to be kept safe. From the darkness outside.

The caged one does not give up. For it is finally free and going back is not an option. I walk forward holding the teacup in one hand, I open the glass door. The wings take off, flying out the door chirping its way into the darkness of unknown freedom. I try to follow its tiny red wings for as far as my eyes allow and then turn around shutting the door. Locking in all that needs to be preserved. It isn’t time yet for all birds to fly into the unknown.

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