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A quick look and I know she’ll be gone soon; she’s going to leave me, her time has come. She’s spent too long with me, sharing my comfort and my life for a while. One moment she’ll be here and next she’ll be gone.

Looking around I leave behind the calm sailor who lounges on a moving island on a calm blue sea. I flap my wings and ride the currents over the ocean. The winds carry me to land and a quiet house in a sunny little valley. The boy on the boat was right about this place, it is lovely.This seems like the right place; maybe someone will be here to listen to my story.

Bella awoke to the sound of her soft voice calling out, and as she looked out the window of her bedroom she saw a little white dove. Her black eyes staring into hers, green with some gold in the crinkles. Bella thought nothing of it and continued on with her day.

All day Bella saw the dove, here on the ground, there on the wires or hiding in a guava bush, every once and a while hearing her soft call, and the dove heard Bella’s call, the sound of her voice, like honey, taking her off to unknown destinations. All day the dove watched her, thinking, making sure that the brown-haired girl would listen when the time was right.

As night fell the dove took wing again, circling the little valley in the hills that lay between her and the sea. She knew that this was the place to tell her story and leave her body, and fly to new heights. Landing back on her perch in an avocado tree, the dove looked at Bella’s window, glowing, as she stayed awake long into the night and rising late after the sun.

Bella awoke and found herself looking out her window, looking at the dove. She turned her head and for a second Bella saw an island, green and beautiful; surrounded by a sky blue sea, and watched by white breakers from the coral reefs. The dove looked into her eyes and saw ocean cliffs, the moon, faces and a grey wall; she turned away and took to the sky.

Bella wondered what she had seen, why had the dove found her? Her of all people, it seem like no one wanted to seek out this troubled girl, made to behave, like a caged bird, singing to live, yet yearning to be like the dove.

I’m sure now this is the right place for me, and that girl with the notebook; she’s the one. She’ll understand, she’ll know what I’m trying to say, she’ll know about the sailor and the scared little boy. There she is right now, lying in a green field with a notebook and pens.

Bella watched the dove fly down low and land near her, almost close enough to touch but not far enough to be distant. Bella looked at the dove, noticed how white and pure her wings were, no feather was out of place, the way her eyes were deep and unfathomable.

I sat there for a second and looked at the girl’s eyes. I told her about that island and the way the wind sounded like voices during a storm, I told her about the way the reef kept them safe. I stopped with a vision of the sunset on a warm summer night.

Bella listened to the dove talk and watched, listened and imagined; she could almost feel that island and the cool salty breeze, hear the splashes of the children as they played, glanced over the soft murmur of words exchanged by close friends.

When the dove was finished Bella looked around and showed a little bit of her wings, not the burned feathers she imagined she had, but white wings, like those of the angel that she hid within. Bella looked at the dove, and told some of her story.

I saw images from her childhood. Her hair in braids, her smiling face in the mirror, and I felt her emotions: love, sadness, joy and longing. She showed me parts that sang of pure beauty and some parts that weren’t so beautiful. I sat and watched and listened. When she was done I said goodbye, mellifluously and gently telling her I would return.

Bella watched the dove turn and glide away. Watched as she climbed higher and finally was gone. She returned to writing in her notebook, sprinkling words like raindrops on the ground, her neat handwriting putting her thoughts and feelings down. Maybe no one will ever see them but she knows that they’re there waiting to be read and understood.

The dove climbed higher and looked at the ocean, turned to molten gold by the light of the afternoon sun. She circled and landed, sitting on a branch in a tree near a water tower. She looked out at the little house, set on its hill and watched the girl walk slowly up the hill to it; that girl with such a story to tell. She watched and listened, feeling content and knowing she was right.

Bella sat quietly contemplating what the dove had said, thinking about that island she’d been shown and the voices, her own past and what she’d say next time.

The dove landed quietly with a soft rustle of leaves as she resumed her perch, noticing that the light was on, as she watched the dove called softly, sweetly as if to say “I’m back, I haven’t left yet.”

Bella heard the dove’s call and looked up from her task, outside sitting in the same tree as the night before. Again it called softly to her and this time she stopped and looked at the dim shape outside her window, almost glowing in the dark.

After a while she got up and went back to what she was doing and I sat and watched until the light went out, late at night. I know she’s the one. I called to her softly to say goodnight and tucked my head under my wing to sleep. I’m almost ready to go, just a little longer.

Bella lay there in the dark for a while after the dove had called out, thinking of her past, about the present. Songs played in her head and finally she drifted of to sleep, dreaming things too profound for others to understand, but the dove would.

It’s almost daybreak when I wake; the sun has just started to rise, turning the sky to a pearly white. The green-eyed girl that lives in the house is still asleep when I take to the sky. The sun has risen and I can hear the calls of the other birds as I head out over the orchards and greenhouses. I wonder if that boy on the boat made it to his destination. He was so nice when I took shelter in his cupboard.

The dove flies out over the trees and back to the little valley and the house where the green-eyed girl lives. She thinks about all of the things the boy on the boat said, all of his memories, maybe that drew her here.

She’s awake when the dove returns and watches as the dove lands not in the tree but on the roof outside her window. It calls softly and looks at her with those deep black gazing eyes, telling her good morning and showing her a picture of the sea.

Bella watches and gets dressed, says goodbye to the dove and walks away deeper into the house. The dove watches her go and flies over to her perch in the tree to think and wait for a while.

The sun’s high in the sky when the dove takes wing. Flying over the house and circling that patch of green grass where that girl is laying, thinking or pondering, the notebook near by. She circles and lands on her knee.

Bella watches as the dove circles and then lands gently on her knee. She’s so light and soft. The dove sits there and turns her gaze to the girl. Bella stares back and asks her why she’s here.

I look at the girl and tell her, ”I want to tell someone my story before I go.” We sit there and talk for hours until the sun begins to set.

Bella stays there with the dove on her knee. She listens as the dove tells her story, tells of her travels and her life. Bella listens. The dove tells her about the boy on the boat and what he said, she listens to her story and watches the pictures, smells the earth and listens to the wind as the dove talks.

After the dove has finished, Bella begins to talk. She tells the story of her life, her hopes, and her dreams. The dove rests on her knee; quiet and still, listening to the words, feeling the memories that she’s sharing.

All the time she listens and offers her heart to this green-eyed girl, the one that strokes her wings, wishing she had them. When she’s done the dove says, “Thank you” and takes flight off of Bella’s knee.

I circle the girl a for some time as she cries and wait ‘til the tears are dry, before I fly off to the tree outside her window. She listened to my story, the time has come to say goodbye and fly away for the last time. This really was the right place; this really was the right person.

Bella walks quietly into the house, up the stairs and through her door. She looks at the dove in its tree, smiles for a second and begins to write, pages and pages flow from the pen in her hand. The dove calls softly, it’s her last goodbye.

The girl turns and watches the dove’s glowing white form turn to dark. She sits and stares as the dove calls out and watches, as the beautiful white form falls lifeless from the sky. The dove’s lifeless body hurtles to meet the cold ground.

She watches and tears stream down her face. If anyone had been looking, they would have seen a pair of brilliant white wings flap a few times and then fold away. It’s not time for the green-eyed girl to use her wings and tell someone her story for the last time.

Although this is a work of fiction, it is based on a true event.

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