Love Birds: a short flight of fancy

He glimpsed her through the flocks, and had to admit, her eyes really glowed against all of that green. It was obvious she was from a similar breed. The way she moved, so free from inhibitions and the fact she was as happy alone as when she was surrounded by others. Plucking up some inebriated courage, he flew over to her and introduced himself. Her eyelashes fluttered and the rest, well, the rest was history.

She took him back to her cosy little nest, which she had built all by herself on the southern tip of the city. She liked to be close to the ocean, her secret getaway when the city took its toll, and of course her gate way to other lands, other skies. He lived more to the east, higher up in height and higher up the ladder. He cruised with a different type altogether, and yet it is more than likely that they would have passed each other at some point or other, if not today, then upon some other eve.

There was an immediate understanding, perhaps owing to their breed. A mischievous look from her was all it took to ruffle his feathers and after that first encounter she found herself flapping all over the place. Her heart was in her stomach and she felt as if she’d just flown around the world and back. She couldn’t wait to see him again. Sending out a message of flirtation, she waited for a reply. It came, after some time. Maybe it had been held up by the storm or lost in the wind, she told herself calmly. Except she didn’t feel calm. She was anxious and already planning the nest they would build together one day. She tried to slow down but it was so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of it all. Her heart began to soar too high, too fast. Knowing that she might get knocked down at some point, she retreated a little.

And every time she did so, he would pop up and carry her along on his dangerous flight of love, or was it lust? She began to feel addicted to the adrenaline of it all. The way he would pick and choose their route, the things they would see and do, and then after a tumultuous ride of highs and lows, he’d dangle her over the edge and she really could snap at any moment, falling back down to earth with a broken heart, a broken wing or two. She knew it was risky but she had been flying solo so long and this adventure was new and exciting and who knew what would happen next? Maybe he would finally make it official and tell all his friends. She didn’t know how much longer she could handle being referred to as his ‘bird’. She didn’t want to be anyone’s ‘bird’. So, she decided to wait it out.

They glided through the seasons, both departing frequently and flying off in different directions. The summer passed in a haze of humidity and absence. With the arrival of autumn though, they became a little closer. It started to get cold out there and it’s always nicer to seek warmth from another. She had grown used to his delay in communication and started to accept it as normal, even though others were whistling all around her, reaching out to her with their wide, open arms. She darted off every time one of them approached. She wanted him, only him, in all his mysterious glory. And sometimes she really did have him. They would be hovering on the edge of something solid, something real, and as she glanced at him with those big, watery eyes, he would take off.

Back to her nest she would go, where she would overthink every single thing she had said, every move she had made. It was obvious they were not on the same path. She stuck around regardless, daring herself to get hurt. And on moonlit evenings she would look out and wonder what he was up to? Was he building their nest? Or was he flitting around, creating his own world? They were circumnavigating, it was clear. Maybe her inner compass had broken? Was it possible for her to have lost herself this much?

Having reached her limit, she asked him outright: “Will you ever be ready to build a nest together?” He didn’t respond. He stayed very still, but something inside him had flown off. The next day, he really flew, leaving her to pick up all the stray feathers, the aftermath. She needed to clear her head with sea breeze and she knew just the place for this.

As she flew home amongst the stars, the mountains jutting out below, she could feel the past year falling away. It wasn’t going to be an easy journey. There were so many places they had graced together, but she flew solo once upon a time and she sure as hell would do it again. She thought back to the night they had met. She had no idea it was on the horizon. And yet, if you asked her now, she would tell you she would do it again. Over and over again. Those adrenaline-fueled flights of fancy aren’t every day occurrences. They are pretty special. And anyway, it’s not that difficult to heal a broken wing, a broken heart. Especially when there’s a whole world out there to explore. Lucky for her, her wanderlusting wings heal pretty quickly.

Where to next? She wondered.


 Image sourced from here.

Tales from the Teacup: Shenzhen

A mere thirty years ago the throbbing, booming metropolis of Shenzhen was but a calm, fishing village. The dominant factor being bicycles, horse-drawn carts and the scent of freshly-caught fish. Now, however, those days of merrily riding along the wide-open roads, a rainbow of vegetables piled up in baskets attached to the front and back of the bell-cladden bicycles have been replaced completely and utterly by Sci-Fi-like skyscrapers that creep closer to the sky with every passing day and a throng of traffic jams so tightly jammed together, it’s as if everyone and anyone (and I really mean everyone) has moved to Shenzhen.

It’s now the fifth most populated city in the world and believe me, it’s in it to win it. In the year and a half that I left Shenzhen and since coming back it’s as if the people have multiplied ten-fold. And why not?! This city is truly a’buzzing with opportunities. That friendly, fishy scent from the village days might still be lurking, but it’s suffice to say that money, power and people have found their way in and it looks as though they’re here to stay.

For someone like me, who thrives on the history and traditions of a place, the back alleyways teeming with stories and a community spirit that would give the cosiest, cobblestoned streets a run for their money, it’s easy to wonder why a place like Shenzhen would seem like an attractive place to live. Sometimes, you just need to search a little deeper for what you’re looking for. Shenzhen might be a brand-spanking new baby city, but what she lacks in age, historical tales and a unique culture so associated with the likes of Beijing and Guangzhou- her big Chinese brothers- she makes up for in her melting-pot way. This melting-pot that Shenzhen so encompasses is brimming full of people from all over China. People of all ages, dialects, home towns and taste buds. Throw in a bunch of young and old entrepreneurs from far and wide, east and west, as well as urban planners, architects, designers, artists, musicians, businessmen, bakers and you get quite the creative ensemble. It has most definitely been a speedy transformation, but the shape that Shenzhen is taking appears to be one with many sides. Both positive and negative, like most things in life, but pushing more towards the positive.

It can be fun living in such a new place, knowing that you are getting the chance to play a part in the moulding of it’s future. Shenzhen is a city full of youth and it’s up to us-the generation of Shenzheners- to make it a place to be proud of. Aside from it’s whacky fake eiffel tower, it’s endless plethora of ‘massage parlors’ and it’s heaving traffic, it’s a place I’ve called home temporarily, both in the past and today, and it’s a city that is undergoing an exciting development.

It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, and originally I was in that category. However, if you thrive on leading an independent, opportunity-filled lifestyle for a little while, perhaps Shenzhen might be worth exploring. I shall be unveiling some hidden gems from the city on my blog over the next wee while, so if you’re new to the city or a curious creature- feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section below!