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Common Ground

From completely different worlds a parrot and a swan met by chance.
They saw differences immediately. They didn’t think they would get on.
Her parrot friends weren’t too keen on narcissistic swans, always admiring their reflections in the water. His swan friends thought parrots were loud-mouthed show-offs. But for some reason they found each other intriguing and ended up spending time together.

It was tricky. He fought against all his swan snobbery, she fought with her parrot urge to mock him and they fought with each other.
‘It’s not going to work,’ he said eventually.
‘It’s not going to work,’ she repeated.
They went their separate ways.

Days later the parrot found her fellow parrots unusually irritating and flew off to find peace by the river. Looking down she saw the swan necking with a female and knew then that she loved him. Seeing him with a new mate made her wish that she could have been a swan. But she was a parrot so she flew back to her own kind and tried to be a good parrot.
Meanwhile the swan realised that he didn’t enjoy necking with other swans and decided that he missed the parrot’s company. He really wished he could be more colourful and noisy and parrot-like. But he was a swan and couldn’t live amongst parrots.

Yet something deep within both yearned for a life-long partnership and they wandered restlessly beyond their usual boundaries, once again meeting by chance.
‘It was painful to see you with someone else,’ she said, ‘but it helped me realise that I can never be with you.’
‘It’s not that I don’t care for you,’ he said, ‘its just that we’re so incompatible.’
He talked for hours about his family and his home and she told jokes and they preened together. When they said goodbye they carefully placed one white and one red feather crossed on the ground and agreed to meet there as friends the following day.

Over time the pile of feathers grew from two into a cosy nest of yellow, blue, red and white and eventually the two birds stopped going back to their own kind. Away from their old homes their common ground became a place where their friendship could grow. They discovered that they could be close even though they continued to disagree for eighteen years.

After the swan’s death the parrot’s family came looking for her. But not wishing to spend the next forty years without her mate she had wound his limp neck tightly around herself until she could no longer breathe. And there her family found them, entwined together for all eternity.

25 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a great story and although slightly similar to romeo and juliette – this is much more interesting and tragic. Fantastically written 🙂

    Like

    05/08/2010
    • Rachel #

      Thank you! Lovely comments.
      (Your blog link didn’t work – it went to brainhaze.com instead of brainhaze.wordpress.com ! oops)

      Like

      06/08/2010
  2. I really enjoyed this, Rachel. Along similar lines to to Romeo and Juliet? Maybe, but I think by making the characters non-human you clearly highlighted how difficult it can be and what obstacles are put up when someone starts and maintains a relationship with someone who is “different” to them and their family or friends. Great piece.

    Like

    05/08/2010
    • Rachel #

      Thanks Kath 🙂

      Like

      06/08/2010
  3. Fabulous fable! Loved the bittersweet ending.

    Like

    06/08/2010
    • Rachel #

      Yes it’s a fable. Why didn’t I think to call it that!? Thanks 🙂

      Like

      06/08/2010
  4. yearzerowriters #

    Perfectly pitched, charming story. I’m a hoary old cynic, but this moved me in its elegant simplicity.

    Great stuff

    Marc Nash

    Like

    06/08/2010
    • Rachel #

      Thank you. I’m having fun playing around with different lengths and different styles

      Like

      06/08/2010
  5. alisonwells #

    Very lovely, very sigh-making, as always I love your touch of surrealism but it always adds to the interest, never detracts.

    Like

    06/08/2010
    • Rachel #

      Thanks Alison. I think it’s becoming quite clear I don’t live in the real world!

      Like

      06/08/2010
  6. Loved it. Simple, touching, entertaining & unusual.
    A beautiful piece.

    Like

    06/08/2010
    • Rachel #

      Thank you Dave Bartlett! 🙂

      Like

      06/08/2010
      • It’s ok Rachel, I have been known to answer to just ‘Dave’ 😉 amongst lots of other things if I’m perfectly honest 🙂

        Like

        08/08/2010
  7. Rachel;

    I love your little fable. I wish we all could find a common ground. Nicely crafted story.

    Like

    06/08/2010
    • Rachel #

      Thanks Maria. 🙂

      Like

      06/08/2010
  8. Tam #

    What a lovely story – made me smile even though it was sad. Xx

    Like

    07/08/2010
  9. Rachel #

    Hi Tam,
    Thanks for popping in 🙂

    Like

    07/08/2010
  10. OMG that is so beautiful! It has actually brought tears to my eyes. Well done you! x

    Like

    07/08/2010
  11. claireking #

    Lovely vivid fable, and this part made me laugh:
    ‘It’s not going to work,’ she repeated.
    Great flash.

    Like

    07/08/2010
  12. mrssarahsiddons #

    Very cleverly constructed and told with a wonderfully whacky premise. I love it x

    Like

    07/08/2010
  13. christinemosler #

    Oh I enjoyed this one Rachel! Well done. Simple and very well executed.

    Like

    07/08/2010
  14. Rachel #

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you all for lovely comments

    Like

    07/08/2010
  15. This is a beautifully written story. Tragic and sweet all at once.

    Like

    08/08/2010

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