Jason Webley


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The Story of Feather

Feather was a girl who trusted her feet. She ran so light, so fast and so reckless that she never had time to fall and skin her knees. She had big bright eyes filled with bees a-buzzing and long yellow hair that trailed behind her when she ran through the garden. There was always dirt under her fingernails and snot on her chin. But never a scrape on her knees. Because she trusted her feet.

Nobody knows where she came from, but I can tell you she was raised by a family of pink-haired, tattoo-toting squeezebox squeezers who lived in a broken-up-broken-down van just outside of town. While she grew up, Feather spent her days digging wild onions in the garden to the sound of accordion music.

On her eleventh birthday she was given a special present - her very own shiny accordion with brass bickerjiggers all over the handles. “Long time you been with us,” said the squeezebox squeezers “and it time you stop digging in that dirt and start doing the thing a squeezebox squeezer born to do.”

So she picked up the accordion, tightened the straps and tried to tickle it just like she had seen the squeezebox squeezers tickling their accordions so many times. It sounded frightening. I don’t know if such terrible sounds existed before that day. Her fingers met the keys like a herd of rhinoceroses arriving at a wedding. It sounded like it was raining belches, old typewriters and dying dogs.

The squeezebox squeezers were terrified. They had never heard such a horrible racket. But they all just smiled and nodded and said, ‘Feather just need practice for while.’ But after weeks of practicing, the sounds only seemed to get worse. Finally Feather set the shiny new accordion down, hung her head and walked into the garden.

“The squeezebox squeezers have been so kind to me, but I guess in my heart I’m not a squeezebox squeezer at all. I suppose that isn’t so terrible, but if I’m not a squeezebox squeezer, what am I?” she said and started to cry. “I know I’m supposed to listen my heart right now, but it is so hard to hear my heart! And anyway, even if I do hear something, how do I know it’s really my heart talking and not my brain telling me that my heart is talking? Brains are sneaky like that,” she said and cried even more.

And after she had cried out all the tears she could find, she looked down at her feet. Under one foot just happened to be a long piece of pretty string. Under the other foot just happened to be a beautiful yellow feather. She wiped away her tears and said “maybe my heart speaks to me through my feet.”

So Feather bent down and picked up the feather and the piece of string. Then she closed her eyes for a while. Maybe she made a wish. I don’t know if she did or not, or what that wish might have been if she did. But I know that next she took that feather and tied it with the string to the tree in front of the squeezebox squeezers van.

And then she just started walking. Trusting her feet and letting them take her wherever they just happened to be taking her.