Tad was special. His mother was told that she could not bear any child, and when the doctors told her she was pregnant, his parents immediately knew he was a miracle. The day he was born, the stars sparkled in the clear dark sky and a bird sang a beautiful song as it perched by the window, watching the baby boy breathe his first breath.
Tad had dark hair and big brown eyes that would light up every time someone made a funny face, forcing him into the most adorable giggles a baby could give. He was the talk of the town for a while as his presence gave dark times a glint of hope.
As Tad grew older, his father pampered him more than his brothers. He was given better clothes and was spared from the farm work. But on the down side, Tad was forced to study, day in and day out. As though education was only made for him and not his brothers.
At the age of 7, something rather peculiar happened. One night, while Tad was asleep in the room he shared with his brothers, he heard someone calling to him. Even under the loud thundering rain, the voice was so distinct as though it was in his head. And when he finally could not ignore it any longer, Tad got up and squinted his eyes in the dark, hoping to find the source. The same deep voice then told him to look out the window and Tad obediently did as he was told.
When he pressed his palms on the cold window pane, he saw a baby bird in a nest, on a tree near the window. Its parents were not around and it was struggling to stay in its wobbling nest as the wind blew. Tad tried to pry the window open, to safe the baby bird from impending danger, but his small hands could barely lift the weight of the tightly bolted panels.
And then the worst imagination Tad could have at that moment, happened. The nest fell and Tad gasps. But to his surprise, the baby bird took off into the sky, flapping its small wings as it battled the strong winds. Every time the bird seemed to be loosing its fight with the wind and the rain, it would force itself to try harder. And every time it tried, it succeeded. Tad watched for a while before he felt a heaviness in his eyelids and as everything plummeted into darkness, Tad could not even remember walking back to his mat on the floor.
The next morning, Tad hurried out to see the nest, hoping to be able to place it back to where it was, but there was none.
“Where’s the nest?” Tad asked himself as he looked around the tree.
“What nest?” Roth, his oldest brother, asked.
“There was a nest. I saw a nest last night and the wind blew it off the tree.”
“Well, if the wind blew it off, I guess you won’t find it anymore,” Roth said as he walked off to his morning chores.
“I kicked the nest, destroyed it, so the birds won’t have a home anymore.” Simon, his third oldest brother, smirked with his arms folded by the door.
“Why would you?! The baby bird won’t find its home anymore!”
“Aw. I imagine the baby bird to be you, lost and alone, with no home, and no mommy and daddy to cry to,” Simon said and laughed.
“And just like the bird, nobody wants you.” Simon shoved Tad against the tree before he left.
What Simon said made Tad scramble around, looking harder for the nest, but when he found none, he retreated to a corner in his room and sobbed. He didn’t know how long he was there until his mother came looking for him. When she heard his soft sobs, she hurried to his side and gave him a hug.
“Mommy, the baby bird is all alone,” Tad said softly as his wet brown eyes stared out the window.
“Baby, there was never a nest in that tree,” his mother whispered in his ear. His brothers must have told her the story.
“But I saw it last night!”
“It was a dream.”
“No, it was real!”
“It was a dream Tad. If there was a nest, I would know. Trust me o.k?”
“But mommy, the baby bird fell and -“
“Don’t worry about the baby bird, it will be strong, even on its own. It will learn to fly and reach for the stars. Just like you!” his mother said as she tapped his nose.
“If ever you think you are alone, and if the world throws you out of your nest, just trust yourself and fly.”
Tad nodded and gave his mother a tight hug. If only he knew his mother’s words would carry so much weight in the future, he would have memorized it day and night.
Tad never knew his first dream would come to pass, in fact, he had forgotten about it over the years. But as he fell in and out of consciousness in the sweat smelling van, after the cold-hearted betrayal of his brothers, he vaguely recalled what his mother said, and it was the strength he held on to for as long as he could.
“If the world throws you out of your nest, just trust yourself and fly.”
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