“A Lost Feather”

This is a blog post dedicated to shining the light on students in the school, and can be found under the search term “Celebrating Student Work”.

As a part of the Year 7 Memoir unit in Term 1, Lyndale student Keerthana of 7C wrote the following masterpiece of a memoir titled “A Lost Feather”.

Every word he uttered

And every smile he managed…

Has been etched into me. As brittle as glass yet as deep as my soul.

His voice was shrill but soft. With that special ring to it once it slipped off the tip of his tongue.

Somewhere in my mind. Perhaps in every nook and cranny, it’s still lingering. Still as loud and vigorous as ever.

The bright sun blinded my eyes, luminescent rays bouncing off freshly painted cars bustled together on the road. Suddenly, a thought hit me. I rummaged through my pockets, candy wrappers and stickers passing by my pudgy fingers. Pulling the feather out, its bristly texture was cold against my palm, as strokes of green, blue, yellow, and orange reached in every direction. The corners of my mouth shot up, my almond-shaped eyes bulging with excitement. “Akka, look! Look! I found this feather in the school garden. Miss Wills told me it was a parrot feather!” She examined it, her long black hair glistening as she strode. Crinkling her forehead, she spat, her voice sharp and crystal-clear. “I’ve found better feathers than that, Keethu.” Turning her attention back to the path in front of her, I noticed her smirk.

My shoulders drooped, as I slowed to a stop. Watching her race ahead, I glanced at the feather again, then kissing it goodbye, I reluctantly tossed it into the air. Dancing in the wind as graceful as a ballerina as it glided confidently in the air, seeming to know its way home. After a few seconds of misery, I started to chase after my sister. The humid air brushing against my chubby cheeks, as I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me. The gravel beneath my ripped, Kmart shoes creating a melody of crunching, as the crisp autumn wind awakened my senses. The revving of car engines echoing around the plain atmosphere, coughing, and sputtering, as they took off. Pushing forward, my ears tingled to the usual commotion of my street, as my brightly patterned backpack bounced roughly on my back. “WAIT UP AKKA!”

Pebbles created a cluttered river of obstacles, as I hastily snaked my way to my unit. Throwing open the oversized, wooden door of my house, I smelt for the spicy panner tikka, the creamy butter chicken, or the fried potato. The sizzling of the pans and the stirring of the spoons. The loud growls of the grinder, and the appetizing aroma of pepper curry.

I turned my head left to right, searching for the heavenly delights that were clouding my thoughts. Their smooth texture and mouth-watering aromas. Their spicy coats of flavour, and mesmerising tastes. “Amma?” Removing my shoes and dropping my bag, I tiptoed to the kitchen, suddenly astonished by the tables scrubbed and spotless. The stove empty, and the silver plates sparkling. Treading toward the pots and pans, I exhaled silently and stared hopefully at a dish that could be held in one of my dreams. With a clink of metal, the lid was off, revealing a bare plate.

I pursed my lips. “Why didn’t Amma make the food she promised?” Wedging my tongue between the two gaps in my mouth that once had teeth, I brushed my fingers against the rough, powdery surface of the dining table. Sniffing the air, I slowly left the kitchen. A pinch of hope stubborn to not let go.

“Keethu?” A frail, feeble voice echoed its way past the golden afternoon light pouring serenely through the floral curtains. The plaster peeling off the walls, slowly adding to the silence. The carpet fuzzy and warm, covering the cracks and stains of the brown, tiled floor. A lone shiver ran down my spine, as I followed the direction of the unusually quiet voice.

Peeking gingerly into the room from which the voice came from, I waited for another sound that would break the silence. “Keethu?” I gulped. There was the croaky voice again. Chewing my top lip, I hesitantly took another step in. As a sudden wave of confusion struck me hard. Narrowing my eyebrows, I frowned. Huh?

Blinking several times, I adjusted to the eerie, dim light that filled the room. An unfamiliar feeling seeped into me. What was it? Drapes that ranged from magenta to silver covered the windows, blocking out the sunlight. My sister’s delicately made origami cranes dangling from the roof with poise, and the sour odour of sweat loitering in the air. My mum was settled in the furthest corner of the room, transparent tears lining her cheeks, and her wrinkled skin hidden by wispy, black strands of hair. Several cracks of sunlight peeped through the curtains, reflecting on the gems blanketing her churidar, creased and crumpled.

With a troubled look stitched to his face, my dad was fiddling with his computer. Big, bold letters running along the edge of the screen, reading ‘ACER’. He had 4 printed slips of paper, slim and dotted with words. I strained my eyes, attempting to read it, and made out a few words in italics… ‘Australia-India’. A plane ticket to India?

“Appa?” He flicked his attention to me. I could see his eyes had thin red strokes running along the sides. I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew that my dad wasn’t his usual, placid self. With his smooth brown skin, and straight black hair. His pointed chin, and dark, black eyes, large and flowing with peace. He was stressed out for sure. I waited, then spoke in what was almost a whisper? “What happened?” He ran a shaky hand through his hair and paused before answering, “I… Your perippa passed away…”

My body struggled to digest this as I stumbled back, his answer letting a horrified frown creep onto my face, my muscles growing tense. “Wha- which perippa?” I refused to welcome all the terrifying assumptions that were crawling into my mind. “Dharmaraj perippa.” I flinched at his response. No. No, it can’t be.

My fingers shivered as I clenched my fists, my nails digging into my sweaty palms. Controlling all the emotions that were cued to be let out. I glanced at my mother, realising why she was heartbroken.

As my insides sank, I tiptoed to her slowly, careful not to upset her even more. “Amma?” She shifted her head slightly toward me, revealing a tired, reassuring smile that fell apart in a few seconds, curling up into what seemed like a frown. Taking a seat next to her, I rested my head on her shoulder, wrapping my arms around her. Quietly shutting my eyes, I could feel her body oddly warm, yet shivering. From then on, I understood things would never be the same.

A few tears meandered down my round face, as visions flashed before my eyes. Visions of the parrot feather that I had tossed into the air before. Perhaps my old life had sailed away alongside it too. Perhaps I’d dropped it into an endless ocean, too dark, and too deep. Something I cannot retrieve, no matter what.

Slowly and painfully, my sorrows throw me into a never-ending abyss. Something I cannot help.

Five agonizing years later, several regrets continue to clamber into me. Regrets that I cannot just push away. But regrets that I can learn from.

Now, as you read this, I can finally free all the feelings chained up inside of me. Multiple feathers soaring through the sky.

– Keerthana Karthikeyan 7C

5 thoughts on ““A Lost Feather”

  1. Amazing Work 🙂 – beautiful description! This piece really touched my heart

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