The Swans

She never knew what she wanted. Of course, nobody else did either, but it didn’t stop her locking those big, brown, imploring eyes on them in a demanding fashion, seeking an easy answer. Trying to work things out in her head rarely led anywhere and the inner dialogue often spilled out, repetitive and unfiltered.

Unwilling or unable to change things, or to know where to start, she built castles in the sky and populated them in her thoughts.

Trapped in a moat of her own engineering, she frequently observed that the life buoys were entirely too round and white to be of any practical use to her.

Opportunities came and went, crocodiles smiled and swam by, and she complained that the largest swan in the moat was too happy for her to accept direction from.

One day, Mr Overlord, the giant who owned the moat, the castle it surrounded and the grounds on which they were built, declared that all of the inhabitants of the moat were to leave, for he fancied the idea of his own private, circular swamp.

Having spent the term of her inhabitance deriding the water reeds and maligning the colour of the water, she suddenly was heard to be telling all and sundry that the moat was particularly serene, aromatic, and above all, ideally located, within a stone’s throw of her air castles.

Threatening to drain the moat with her frenzied arm-flapping, she zoomed round and round the castle, squawking and disrupting the nests of the swans who were packing their few possessions in readiness for the imminent move.

After weeks of this circumnavigation, she turned and began to thrash her way around in the other direction, almost drowning in her wake.

Seeing his beautiful moat in such a drained and unappealing state, and lulled into staying put by Mrs Overlord, the capricious giant no longer desired to live in the moat. The girl ceased her thrashing and reverted to her old ways of picking faults in the fish who swam by, and lying in the dark under the bridge for days on end.

The swans continued to go about their business, dismissed by the girl as having every privilege necessary for easy lives, whilst underneath the water’s surface their legs were paddling furiously.

The Swans

Georgie Hart

Melbourne, Australia

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