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         Their dark and long wings spread overhead 

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.

         One for sorrow.

         Two for mirth.
         Three for a funeral. 
         Four for a birth. 
         Five for silver. 
         Six for gold. 
         Seven for a secret never to be told. 

         I counted the crows in the sky, smiling ever so slightly at the old superstition that had so concerned a toddler me.

         One for sorrow. The sun fell as the white clouds made way for grey skies, and rain began to fall. One by one, I could see brightly coloured umbrellas go up by the second. One red, one blue, another clear and plastic. I pulled out my own, an array of colours, and made my way home. Water skidded the sides as puddles splashed down the street. An old grey street it was. The only colour there ever was, was that bright yellow streaking through the middle. I walked along it, looking up at the grey skies, but it was obstructed by  wires. To the left and to the right, were people, each as slumped down as the other. Umbrella in hand, they slowly walked down the road, not talking, not looking up. 

         Two for mirth. I reached the street of houses, just as filled with people as the last. But through each window, I saw a smile and a laugh. Warmth filled the streets of rain as the trees lived through both. Golden light emanated from each home and the sun came to play. In the bushes, in the ground, in the trees, light darted in and out.

         Three for a funeral. Warmth left the street as I approached the house at the end of the lane. Closed, austere, devoid and empty of the happiness that occupied the homes it was surrounded by. There were three old ladies by this house, knitting and snipping away at yarn. The house, though cold and grim, also came with a sense of togetherness, the kind that came after a hurricane or was it that bittersweetness of the celebration of a well-lived life now gone. 

         Four for a birth. I faced the sidewalk now as a baby’s laugh reached my ears. I smiled. As a kid, Tinker Bell had made me think a baby’s laugh would birth fairies. Hearing this tiny human laugh now, maybe that was true. A new life, one pure and unknowing, happy against all its surroundings.

         Five for silver. The streets were lined with lanterns, shining brightly in the twilight. The moon shined, silver as the stars that cared for it. Silver marked the skies, night after night, burning through. Silver decorated our home’s dark ceiling, providing light when there was none. The silver of the moon and the silver of the stars left a beauty in the abyss for those who needed a friend in dark times. They were there. 

         Six for gold. Gold, the light of the sun as it lay down to sleep. Gold, the light of the sun as it rose to wake. Golden, right in front of me.


BY Ysabelle Asuncion


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