One bird one stone, Amy Catherine Martin
Prix de la nouvelle Energheia France 2022
Nothing I do is ever good enough. It’s so hard to live knowing that time just slips
through our fingers and there is nothing we can do about it. We live trying to fill the
holes in our lives with anything we can find. I’ve been trying to fill my gaping hole,
that only got deeper since she left, with everything I could. I’ve tried food, drink,
women, I’ve even tried to get beaten up just so that I could feel something.
How can she live with herself, knowing that this is what she made me become?
I haven’t seen my daughter in five years. I still say that she was taken from me. And
before you say anything, no, there wasn’t anything I could have done. Her mother
stole her away from me. But you know how it is nowadays, we live in a society where
‘mothers know best’ and us single dads are left to suffer.
Do you know how hard it is to live every day of your life on the edge of it all, longing
for the one thing that fuels your every desire to be near you.
The one driving power, the one rose in the field of rye, my whole world was ripped
from me: how was I expected to move on?
Her mother could barely stand the sight of me. She couldn’t cope with how close my
bird and I were and tried to keep us apart. Could you believe that she would try to fill
my bird with lies and deceitful thoughts about who I was and tried to keep my bird all
for herself. And I was the bad guy in this situation? Talk about selfish.
How is it that some people try to close themselves off from the world and others, as if
they can’t just be pried open at any moment like little oysters?
It’s funny how we’ve built up these ideas of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. How men are
automatically cast as criminals. It’s like they don’t even give us a chance to prove who
we really are, to set ourselves out from the crowd.
I’m the only one who truly knows what is best for my bird. How could nobody see
that? I gave her everything. I would give her the world if they sold it in shops.
But She took everything away from me.
If I had to come clean about something, I guess it would have to be that I’m not always
what people expect me to be. People expect too much nowadays. “Seek not and you
shall not be hurt” is what my mother always told me, between her nightly shots. She
used to have these minutes of wisdom and clarity when she drank, and then would
fade into the night like a dying firefly on a summer evening. She would always speak
with such aggravating eloquence right before smashing her bottle of whiskey by my
I should mention that I haven’t felt whole since the day my bird left. I barely had the
chance to hold her in my arms before she was taken away from me.
I think my life just went downhill from there. She was my life and without her by my
side, I was nothing. The one thing that brought me happiness and comfort in this
world was my bird and She stole her away from me.
I did get to see my bird every so often, for a few years. We used to have fun. And I used
to feel so alive every time I saw her little face light up when she saw me. If only I could
live in that moment forever, to feel the love she feels for me every day for the rest of
my life. She idolised me. I could never get enough of her joy. She was my breath of
fresh air, my moment of peace; she was my bird.
But the last time we saw each other, it wasn’t the same. I had waited for this moment
for years, and I felt a greater distance between us then, than there were all those
sleepless and lonely nights I spent longing for my bird.
Come on, how could I ever be expected to move on from the years of suffering I
endured without her? She changed. She was poisoned at the hand of her mother.
You can’t say it was my fault the cage was too tight for the bird. Shit happens. I did
what had to be done and now she will never leave my side.