Monday, April 30, 2007

the snake and the bird

The girl asked once, the story of her birth and was told. When her mother was pregnant she had a dream and the dream was of her unborn child - a daughter. She dreamed a snake had come to the back door, threatening and hissing and when the snake raised it's slender head he told the mother that she would give birth to a girl. The mother woke up. Not long afterwards she went into labour and that labour produced a girl - hissing and slithering into the world.

The young girl took this in. She wasn't sure that she liked being a snake. She wanted to be a butterfly or a unicorn.

The mother told the story of the girls brother. How the mother pregnant again, took a bath one day and saw a bird on the windowsill. It was tiny and blue and beautiful. The bird sang a gay tune - you will soon have a son - it whistled. The mother went to fetch a towel to grab the bird with, to send it outside but when she turned back around the bird had disappeared. She searched the house but the messenger had gone. It was a happy day when her new young son entered the world, feathers slightly ruffled and a bit blue.

The girl understood that her brother was like a bird and she was like a snake. She internalised the symbolism of the snake - and the hate. She never asked for the story again but was told it anyway. Numerous times. It hasn't been forgotten.

She felt weird. She knew that being a snake was bad, but she didn't feel like a bad person - not really. Sometimes she was bad though, and whenever she was bad she remembered how she was a snake and that truly there must be some part of her that was rotten and evil and festering away inside her. By contrast her brother was good, even when he was bad - but she loved him anyway because who wouldn't love a bird? It's only snakes that are feared and hated. Rightly so, horrible creatures.

The girl has come to understand that there are worthy and unworthy people in the world. Maybe some are made that way - whether it's by birth or otherwise.

The Diamond Sea - Sonic Youth

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