what exactly is a birdfish?

by anthony

Look, I’m telling you, it’s a completely fictitious word, a make-believe creature.  It’s complete and utter rubbish.

It was perfectly cold outside.  The couple was walking those rigid cobblestones down the snow dusted alley and were battling their wits against each other once again as they always did.  It kept them alive.  It kept them interesting and the air was just too perfectly cold not to go a few rounds.

The alley they lived down was in London, UK and known to most as providing a substantial amount of Jack the Ripper’s dark corners.  It is where old London is.  On a night like this, with no street lights, yet still amply illuminated from the endless strands of holiday lights from both ends of this barren alley, there floats and lays gently on your skin a magic that no writer and no adventurer will ever prove capable of illustrating.  In London, when you walk down an alley as this one is, you never walk alone, for with you also walks the timelessness of the royalty, passion and lure that have marinated this land along with all the temperaments of the Mother of nature.

Everything about them was illogical.  Their relationship, their age, their dreams…all fantasy.  So, when they decided to leave the states that they truly believed were once united, this street was the only place they could go.  Minutes from the river, a few more to the center of one of the world’s greatest historical nations.  This alley, to them, simply was London.  He had his restaurant on one end and, at the other, they had access to the rest of the world.

So, that night, two weeks before their first Christmas far on the other side of the pond, with the snow finally falling for the first time all season, they decided to finish the move and get their tree.  And, it was as they were leaving when she asked him the probing question that has led us to this moment.

But, what I asked was, if something doesn’t physically exist, but is believed to by enough people, or even any one person, hasn’t just the idea of it in effect created it? She challenged him again.

An idea does not create, what you do with the idea does.  I think the concepts we create in our minds are amazing, but, thinking about it doesn’t make it real, he challenged her back.

The snow began to fall a little heavier, as if to match the intensity of this beautiful debate.  They both immediately noticed it, took an unspoken timeout to look back up the alley and savored the fact that something was going right in their lives, and that it wasn’t their business as to what exactly it was.

Creation isn’t only physical and I think too many people really believe otherwise.  It’s stifling.  Music doesn’t need to be played in order for music to exist.  I can look at a piece of music and hear a symphony, even though there is not one instrument in sight.

Yes, he quickly added.  But, music, in itself, already existed.  You’re talking about something you made up in your mind.  Just because you think up a birdfish doesn’t mean there must be one somewhere in the world.

Well, why not?  Maybe there are hundreds of species of animals that we don’t know exist because we can’t possibly have thought that they could.  Maybe it’s like the story of the Natives and Columbus’ ships.

But, that supposedly happened because they had never thought of the concept of a ship before, so, naturally they wouldn’t see one.  But, we know what a bird is, and we know what a fish is.  If we saw a hybrid, we’d recognize it.

Or, maybe we missed that part of the ocean, or we didn’t get all the way to the center of the forest.  I’m sure there’s someplace in this world people haven’t been to, or at least someplace that’s protected by something we can’t penetrate.

That’s what she said, he immaturely interrupted her with to which was answered with a stinging and spontaneous slap to his arm.  They quickly we laughing once again as they made their way out of the Ripper’s sanctuary and onto the romantic perfection that is London at Christmas.

It was a dream, and they knew it.  But, it was a vividly lucid one, and they were going to stay dreaming for as long as they could.  She genuinely was intrigued by the idea of a half-fish-half-bird creature flying around their roof or perhaps swimming in the pond they inherited in their eight foot by eight foot backyard and when she was intrigued, she genuinely believed the fiction to be truth.  It was a gift she had, a gift she had given to him years before.  It was a gift that doesn’t last, but, luckily, keeps coming back.

So, she was going to believe it was going to last forever, and she was going to believe in the birdfish.  Because what exactly is a birdfish but a reminder of the power of our dreams and our perspectives, she thought.  I don’t need to see it to know it exists.  As she laughed to herself on this thought, she saw the smile on his face and knew that he could read her thoughts.

And, as if on cue, this laughter made them both turn to witness, through the snow, the precise moment a large bird of prey snatched a rather healthy looking fish from the river and disappear without so much as a ripple being stirred in the water they were still gaping at.

The moment they both could feel that they were not the only one who saw that, she instantly begins jumping and yelling all the while mitten slapping the pillow of a jacket he had on.  After pounding for a moment or two, she finally collected herself enough to say to him, with bursting pride and tingling confidence, emphasizing every word, I TOLD you there were birdfish. To which all he could answer with was walking right in front of her, grabbing her from behind him and puling her onto his back.

You’re walking back after we get the tree.  And they, too, whether in reality or as a dream as well, disappeared into the perfectly cold London snow…


…the end