As soon as I sat beneath the old willow tree, I felt him watching me. He peeked through the branches he balanced on and followed me closely as I broke bread between my fingers. He knew without question what he wanted, and I knew too.

He was beautiful and hesitant. He flew down from his perch and landed with enough distance from my heart to his, to make a clean getaway. It was poetic.

I threw crumbs in front of me, making a trail to my hand. I gave him who I was. Offering intimate pieces of me with a blind faith he would honor them gently. He came closer, picking up the crumbs along the way. His majestic beauty shone through. His dark eyes struck deep and spoke to me in colors. My heart jumped from my chest to meet him right where he was.

Each day we would meet beneath that willow tree. He would fly down with amazing grace to share from my hand and coo a tale that still rings in my ear. For months we shared breath. We exchanged dreams. We loved in our own way.

Until the day the clouds covered the sun. Like every other moment before, he met me at our tree. He sung his hello and spread his wings to show me his majesty. He walked to my open hand and gently leaned in to take my offering. I smiled, seeing my reflection in his dark eyes. He paused, then clamped down hard into my palm. I flinched as the blood ran down my wrist. My eyes welled up with tears and my stomach twisted and fell into the depths of my body.

He sprung away, never looking back and taking the last of his crumbs with him. There was no apology. No regret in his flight. Only a swift escape into the ether from which he came. Through my blurred vision I saw a final glimpse. I said my last goodbye as he painted the sky with my blood. A powerful lesson learned from my once-beautiful blackbird.

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