It was a sunny day. I was sitting in the living room. My mum was sitting in the garden by the pond. I could hear the trickling of the waterfall my dad built.
I looked behind me to the old antique sideboard where all the ornaments watched me.
The two bronze statuettes of strange semi naked women. One one of them was severely dented at the base. I always imagined someone’s head had been smashed in with it, but my dad assured me it had just been dropped.
The old carved cigar box my mum said was haunted.
The antique carving knife on its wooden stand that we weren’t allowed to touch.
The massive clock on the wall behind, it’s shiny brass pendulums hanging on long chains.
The silver trays full of matches and biros.
Right in the centre of the antique sideboard there used to be a little glass ship in a bottle. Now the bottle was egg shaped. Crammed inside the glass egg was a white dove. It had no room and was squashed up against the glass. It gazed at me pitifully.
“Mum,” I called, “why is there a dove in the bottle?”
“It has always been there,” she replied.
“It’s suffering,” I said, “can’t we let it out?”
“You’ll have to break the glass,” she said.
So I slid the antique carving knife from its varnished wooden sheath and took the glass egg carefully in my other hand. I began tapping the glass with the blade, trying to crack it without hurting the dove. The little bird just gazed at me through the glass.
Eventually the glass egg cracked and fell in two in my hands and the dove was free. But it had spent its life stuck inside the egg, so it couldn’t fly. Assuming the dove was hungry as it had never eaten, I took it outside to the garden where it could eat worms or insects.
Next to the pond, I discovered a mass of fat slugs writhing in the mud. I put the dove down gently and it began to devour them ravenously. Eventually it had eaten them all and doubled in size. It ran around the garden flapping its stunted wings in vain.
Then my dad turned up with two small white dogs, and they played in the garden with the fat, white flightless dove.