How many times do you have to ask to be taken where you want to go? A lot of times? And then you still don’t get to go? Me neither.
I once thought I saw a really big bird but then, strangely, it wasn’t all that big as it got closer to me. It brushed right over the top of my head as it flew and then kept going to I don’t know where. And I thought, that bird gets to go wherever it wants. It has to find its own food and stuff but it also just gets to go. Because it can fly. And maybe it doesn’t have a house. So it gets to trade all of that in for being able to fly wherever it wants. And I’m stuck at home and my brother won’t let me go with him to the pizza place with his friends. I would totally take my brother with me.
So the bird has to find his own food and in return he gets to go wherever he wants. I know there is at least a twelve-pack of hotdogs in the chest freezer in the garage. I could just get those on my way out. Those would last me for awhile, I think. And by the time I’d be hungry they’d be thawed. I could get pretty far on one hotdog every time I felt like eating something. Really felt like eating, I mean. Not like my brother and his friends who just shove all the pizza in their mouths. I would really sacrifice. We just learned that word - sacrifice. You give something up in a way for something you care about. I would give up eating a hotdog exactly at every moment that I wanted one to be able to prolong the time I get to live like a bird. Without the flying of course.
I picked up one of that bird’s feathers after it flew over my head. I smelled it. It smelled like the sea, way more than I thought it would because we were near the mountains and there isn’t sea for hundreds of miles, I think. That’s what my parents tell me anyway. The sea is far. Far too far for that bird to smell like it, as if it had just taken a dip. But also that bird doesn’t have to take baths. So my guess is that it flew all the way from the sea and because it doesn’t have to take baths it still smells like where it came from.
I don’t know if I would make it all the way to the sea if I took it easy on the hotdogs and just had one every time I was truly hungry. If there are twelve hotdogs in there and I ate one every three hours I could make it pretty far, I think. That’s twelve times three, which equals thirty-six. I could make it for thirty six hours at least and then probably a while farther because I wouldn’t be hungry again for at least three hours. I should maybe reconsider and have a hotdog every four hours. Then I could get much farther. If teachers knew what they were doing this is how they would teach math. A kid trying to figure out how long he could be on his own and have control over his own life, like a bird, would pay more attention to the numbers because it means how long he could get away from the people who are making him mad and not doing what he wants. Teachers, take note.
Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll try to do the hotdog/bird thing yet but just knowing I can feels good to me. My brother can go have his stupid pizza with his stupid friends. I’m learning about the world and how to survive. Someday he’ll be coming to me when he’s gotten all fat on pizza and his friends don’t want to hang out with him anymore. And it will be good that I had this time to figure out how many hotdogs it would take to get far enough away that it might feel like something big is happening. Even though I’m mad at him now I would let my brother come and we could both live like that ocean-smelling bird that flew over my head, even if it was only for a couple of days.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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