Setting It Free - Bonnie Smetts

Through the open window in his room, Dr. Sarin heard his nephew call him. He rose from his desk and peered down to the garden. Raghev was huddled over something. “Uncle, uncle, come save the bird.”

Dr. Sarin wondered why Raghev’s tutor wasn’t with the child. He moved to go downstairs hating the heaviness he’d been feeling in his legs lately. Each step was a labor and he wished for the lightness of his youth. “Come, come.” Raghev whispered and waved.

A kingfisher stood near the base of a tree, wild-eyed, glassy-eyed and terrified. Its wings didn’t move. “Oh, dear. Raghev, stay away from the bird. He’s hurt.’

“But can we fix him, Uncle? Can we make him fly again?”

Dr. Sarin bent down. He hoped the bird was simply stunned, shocked. “Come, move away. Let’s go inside and let it be. Just let it be for awhile.”

“Can’t you fix it? Maybe its wings are broken.”

“Where did he come from? Did you see it hit the window?”

“It was just here, I saw it from inside.”

“Just let it be and see what comes of it.” Dr. Sarin stood up. He hated how his legs ached when he bent for too long. He reached for Raghev’s hand and relished the warmth of the boy’s flesh. “Let’s go in and find Rama. Where is Rama?

“She went to get a box. I told her we should put it in a box.”

Dr. Sarin knew Rama wouldn’t get a box. Surely a tutor knew something of birds. Raghev broke lose from Dr. Sarin’s gentle grasp. He ran up the stairs to the house. Running, always running. The child has forgotten the bird already, Dr. Sarin thought. Now I am left to worry about the bird. He loved the blue of the kingfishers and waited each year for their arrival. Only time would tell if the bird could set itself free from the garden.