I flopped into the couch and sighed loudly. He looked up, amused. I sighed again and pouted.
“It’s so difficult being real.”
“Why is that?”
“There’s so much hatred and self-centeredness out there. There’s just no point. No one cares anymore.”
He closed the book.
“What do you propose to do then?”
“Oh I don’t know, maybe I’ll just not go out that much anymore. It’s all so tiring.”
“Listen. What do you hear right now, outside the window?”
If there were such a thing as squinting my ears, that was what I did right then.
“I don’t hear anything.”
It was then that I heard it. The quiet chirping of a bird. But it was so soft that I would not have noticed it.
“It’s a bird chirping.”
“That’s right. Now, listen again and tell me what you hear.”
This time, I was getting the hang of this little exercise.
“Ah, there’s another bird. No, wait actually there’re two more.”
The birds were sounding pretty lovely actually, sort of like they were having an animated conversation.
“You see, the first little bird was just chirping the way he knows how to. The way he should. That is his nature.”
“And at first, he was just chirping by himself. But then, you heard another one responding to him. And there was a third. And it all started sounding pretty amazing. It became a beautiful three-voice song.”
He looked at me, smiling.
“But here’s the thing. No one could hear him at first. And even when he could be heard, not everyone likes his song.”
“Still, he continued singing that melody, not changing it or replicating another bird’s tune, because that’s what he was made to sing.”
“He’s just being himself. He’s being real.”
“And look what happened: other birds came. They understood what he was singing and responded to him, and now they’re having a mighty fine session.”
“I think I know what you’re saying…”
He gave me a wink before reopening the book.