Moving Day

Posted on December 22, 2004 by Jenna

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When Laurence and Maude had their baby, the old gypsy woman said, “Her life with you shall not be long, but she shall know more happiness than sorrow.” And they laughed, but they promised themselves that, just in case, they would make sure the second part was true.

Laurence smiles at Iphigeneia. “Are you ready for the move?”

Iphigeneia looks around. Her room is empty. It does not have her bed. It does not have her dresser. It does not have her toys. She is subtly disturbed.

“I guess,” Iphigeneia says, skeptically.

So Laurence picks Iphigeneia up, and her blanket, and carries her outside. Then he puts her down as they wait for the moving truck.

“What will happen?” Iphigeneia asks.

Laurence looks around at the miscellaneous unpacked things. His eyes light up.

“A great bird will come running along,” says Laurence. “His legs will be long as telephone poles. His body taller than the hills. Our new apartment is under his wingfeathers.”

Maude frowns at Laurence. “Don’t tell the child such things.”

“It’s true!” Laurence says. He hefts up a long hook on a pole, used to open and close the skylights. He hands it to Iphigeneia, who looks at it suspiciously. “We use these when the bird comes along. To grab hold!”

“Laurence,” Maude sighs. Then she smiles at Iphigeneia. “But if the moving truck comes first, you can just get a ride in that.”

“Oh,” says Iphigeneia. “Good!”

She braces the pole against the ground next to her, like a spearman at rest.

They wait.

The moving truck is almost there, and Iphigeneia can see it around the corner, when suddenly there is a breeze, and a whispering, and around the other corner strides a great tall yellow bird. Its legs are as long as telephone poles. Its body is taller than the hills.

“Oh no!” shouts Iphigeneia. “Quick, Mom, Dad! Get hooks!”

The bird is rushing up. It will get there before the moving truck.

“Maude,” says Laurence, uncertainly.

“Laurence,” says Maude.

“Iphigeneia!” they both say, at once. But it is too late. With the long hook on a pole, she has caught the wingfeathers of the bird, and she is swept away.

“Mom!” she shouts. “Dad! You’re getting left behind! You’re too slow!”

The bird strides faster than Maude and Laurence can run. Soon they are lost to her sight.

“Huh,” says Iphigeneia. “I better wait in the apartment.”

The bird strides into the hills, and beyond them, into the place where the clouds are the colors of sunset.

Iphigeneia climbs. She climbs the bird for many hours. And when she reaches its ear, she has still not seen any place where an apartment might be.

“Hey!” she shouts, into its ear. “Hey! I’m supposed to live on you! Where is my home?”

And the bird flicks its head, a great terrible motion, and Iphigeneia flies into the sun, and there she burns away.