About seven years ago a letter popped on the doormat


Sometimes things may happen that you don’t want to withhold from others, because of their mystery and importance. You know that you will look pitiful in the eyes of others. There is also a cautionary premonition that makes you ask yourself if you are even allowed to tell them. Anyway, I have now decided to make it known, although there may be only a few who recognize some of it.

It started about seven years ago when a letter popped on the doormat, from a notary office. I was invited to a meeting with my brothers and sisters, at the notary office, because of an inheritance. My older brother, whom I had not seen or spoken to for at least forty years, had died. To be honest, the existence of this brother, Hans, was so unimportant to me that I never thought of him, let alone expected an inheritance from him. No idea what that man did or how he lived. My other brother and sisters hadn’t kept in touch with him either.

All day long I was pacing, pondering. Shall I go? I didn’t need anything from Hans, but the letter made me very curious. I decided to call my youngest sister. She appeared to be in a similar state of mind. It was funny, because I hardly ever spoke to her, only on birthdays and then we had the typical birthday conversations. We both decided to go.

My other brother and sister were there too. The notary took a seat behind his desk and explained that Hans had come up with a practical arrangement. During the reading of the will, my tension increased. My brother inherited all the money that Hans left, quite a sum. My older sister got the house, which was also worth a lot. My younger sister got the furniture, a nice gift. And it still wasn’t my turn. What would it be? I got his parrot.

My eldest sister started giggling and the youngest one reprimanded her. She put her hand on my arm for a moment and my brother was just sitting there, amazed, with an open mouth. I was subjected to all kinds of emotions at the same time. Disappointment… certainly. It would have been nice to get something of value. Repugnance too, because I had never loved pets and didn’t know what to do with a bird. Humiliation… Hans didn’t seem to have much esteem for me!

Well, I corrected myself, why should he. I hadn’t given him anything in my whole life, not even attention. I straightened my shoulders, congratulated the others, thanked the notary and started to get ready to leave. The notary stopped me because there was a condition attached to the inheritance. Each of us would only be entitled to the inheritance if we all individually promised to take good care of what we received.

Ouch… I had just decided to get rid of the parrot right away. But by doing that I’d be denying the others their inheritance! They all looked at me, knowing I’d be the only one struggling with the promise. So I signed the declaration.

There was a note attached to the cage with guidelines for care. The bird was named Hermes, of all names! I renamed it Bird. Of course I took good care of it; it got food and water, I cleaned the cage and every now and then I stroked my finger over its head. Bird didn’t say a word and I didn’t lower myself to the hassle of saying silly parrot words to make it talk.

So it was a quiet guest in the house and I soon got used to the caring, although it never became a hobby. People passing by tried to get Bird to talk, but the creature looked at them with one eye or turned its back to them.

One day I was in a corny mood. I was sitting next to the cage and, on a whim, I asked, in such a curious little voice that people sometimes use when they talk to animals or babies: ‘Who is it then?’ To my dismay, the parrot started talking and said in a kind of cool voice: ‘I know who I am. Do you know who you are?’ Completely upset, I shot from my chair and stared at the animal from afar. ‘Who… what…’ I stuttered, but the parrot went on. ‘It’s worth thinking about. How do you usually present yourself? And how would you like to be? Why doesn’t that match? Are the things you are occupying yourself with important? And for whom? For you or for humanity, for the world, for the cosmos?’

By now I was not only speechless, but thoughtless as well. I couldn’t do anything at all. I stared at Bird. It asked, not unfriendly: ‘Do you live only on the outside? Then you inherit a parrot. Take a good look at the inside. You can start with that note over there.’ The parrot actually looked at the maintenance note that was attached to the cage in a plastic bag.

‘B-but,’ I uttered, ‘how is this possible? It seems real, but it can’t be.’ Bird looked at me and kept its beak closed. I plunged back into my chair and examined in horror if I was drunk. I wasn’t asleep, I knew that for sure, and I hadn’t had a drink either. Was it a hallucination? Many times I tried to get Bird to talk again, but it only looked at me with an unfathomable eye.

The remark about that note still sounded in my head but I was too busy with the phenomenon itself and had no inclination to take advice. Advice! From a bird, a parrot even!

No matter how I pondered, I naturally could not find out what had happened and how it could have happened. But, I suddenly thought, the note… at least I could take a look at the note. I had read it once at the time and there were only obvious things in it about the care. Yet I took it out of the bag, with trembling hands, and looked at it again thoroughly. The paper was thin and it was double folded, I now saw. I unfolded it and to my amazement I found some more words on the inside:

Somewhere in the land of tomorrow a great treasure is hidden.

That was all, no further explanation. It was proof that I wasn’t hallucinating. Bird had spoken. No one would believe me, yet it was the truth. And through Bird, my brother Hans had spoken. Apparently my legacy was worth far more than I had thought. And Hans, what kind of person was he? I searched the internet for hours but couldn’t find anything about him, as if he hadn’t existed.

The matter kept me busy day and night. When I wasn’t walking, sitting or lying down thinking, I dreamed strange dreams, about gates and wings and letters. I read and reread the text on the note and really started to look at what was going on, with me and my life.

I can only say that the treasure really exists and that it is revealed to me in episodes. Although some will say that I have experienced a miracle, I would rather say that I have discovered the miracle.

The miracle of life.

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Date: May 5, 2020
Author: Amun (Netherlands)
Photo: Olga Boiarkina

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