Every morning I was delicately lifted onto the head of the chief’s son. He respected me. I was always treated with care. I would be greeted and admired. Constantly complimented, comments that helped my personality evolve from shy to confident. I was honoured to sit on my owner’s head and watch the world from there.
I experienced grand ceremonies and festivals, smelt the wafts of sweet spices in the air and felt the vivacious vibes. I was part of the tribe, and I got the best seat to witness everything. However some things I’d rather not have seen; memorials or burials always made me want to look away or shut my eyes so tightly it was like they’d never open.
Then one day my life changed. I’d never be included like I was in India. I’d never feel the same.
She sneaked in when they were sleeping. Her long locks were a tangled mess, garments torn and she wore a look of guilt.
“Please forgive me,” she muttered. Then she snatched me. Grasping my body, clasping her fist closed around me. I still remember the pain she inflicted on me, gasping for air. I was unsure what the future held. I wanted to be raging, furious with anger. But all I felt was sympathy. She had so little left, stealing me was her last option. I could feel the guilt radiating off her.
I don’t remember much of the journey. I was so used to being treated attentively that being thrust into a dark bag where the shadows danced with flickers of light intimidated me.
When I finally saw light again my body throbbed. The first face I saw startled me. His silvery strands of hair were coated in grease and every deep wrinkle on his face told a story. His eyes gleamed when he saw me, but I saw a glimmer of arrogance in his face. His stale breath suffocated the room, making me gag. I dreaded my time there.
The man captured me and threw me down onto a bitter surface. He took some kind of pencil and precisely sketched my shape, he then fastened a tag onto me that read:
Feather from India. Donated 1923.
Next, I was sent on a long journey in the dark, then planted in a glass case. Since that day I’ve never left it. I live in a prison. Trapped behind glass, watching the world but never interacting with it.
I used to love being seen and commented on, now it feels like I am being inspected. I can never get out; I will always be stuck here.
by Clemmie Gillespie