Feathers

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He looked up from the paper, groaning slightly as he stretched various muscles and straightened his back. Enough strain for his eyes for today. He dropped the pencil, ran his hand through his hair. His eyes darted as usual to the wall, to the setting sunlight glinting off the framed feathers. Christ, he was getting old.

Others assumed birds were his passion. He let them think so – drawing had been his way of looking for something, illustrating birds had been something to fall into so he could build his own nest. But he had still searched.

Old men, old men, old memories. He shook his head. The feathers always seemed new though. Straight from his head the day he had met him marching for the right to be, to display – it had been so easy to see his peacock in the crowd.

That indeed was what he was. What he had been. Raucous, all noise and fury, but signifying oh so much, at the protest marches and rallies, his voice hoarse then after as they ducked into dark corners together.

God, they had been young. His kisses like pecks, his touches like clawing, leaving marks as if to claim him.  As if he had ‘talons’ of his own. And possessive too, posturing and crowing at anyone else if he thought they came too near him.

So he had drawn him, while asleep, while protesting, while debating something at the top of his voice with another. He had drawn him naked, clothed, angry, blissful. But never, never as a peacock.

It was assumed, now, that there had been others. He let them think so. They thought so because where there should be pictures of him, instead were now drawings and drawings of peacocks. And, in pride of place, plucked from a mask, were feathers that even after debauchery, death and decades of sunlight, had yet to fade.

9781406345407
9781406345407