I know why the caged bird sings
There was a cold drizzle outside that misted the windowed doorway of Stitches. The sound of rain falling hummed as it tapped consistently on the building. Inside, the Doctor sat in his chair beside his gurney, reclining comfortably as he examined his cuff links. He was waiting for the next patient to come through his doors, so as to fulfill his duties; It had been a few days since his last.
Out of boredom, he got up from his chair and walked out to see if perhaps there was someone out there who had not wandered their way to his inevitable doorway. He wrapped himself in his trench coat, no hat, but did slip on a pair of finger-less gloves. His hands were his prized possessions- but he hated the barrier of cotton between his fingertips. It was nothing like the latex gloves he wore so often. So he set foot to wander.
There was one body up ahead with arms flailing to and fro as they palmed walls of buildings, street lamps, window sills, anything they could touch as they fumbled through the puddles and the drizzling air. They groaned and grunted as they moved, sighing in frustration at the shocking cold. The doctor stood there for a moment, watching. It wasn't so much about caution, rather, the unassuredness of whether they were there for him; someone he could fix. Whether they were just lost and aimless, purposeless; or if they could be fixed by his needle and thread.
Regardless, he moved forward to investigate more closely.
"Are you lost, dear?" The doctor held out a hand to their shoulder. They flinched at the unexpected touch.
"Lost?" They whispered, placing their hands out front, groping the other's jacket up to the Doctor's face. "I am afraid I do not even know how I got here, or what I am doing here, or why even, I am blind."
"Well, we will take care of that, I am sure. Why don't you come with me to my office. Here, allow me to take your hand and I will guide you safely there. Stitches, will take care of all your needs."
And so they both left, the girl stumbling behind the doctor whose finger tips were even more cold than the dampness. They entered through the doorway of Stitches, with its typical dim lit flood lights and various signs in the cases to depict different offers. They moved on past the black curtain, to the gurney where so many have laid before her.
"Let's take a look, shall we? You won't feel a thing, I promise."
The clothes were stripped to reveal a creamy complexion splattered with olive stains fading into blues and greens. The doctor raised a brow, which turned into a deep furrow. There wasn't a peep from the girl. She just stared blankly ahead, swallowed in darkness even as the doctor ran a hand over her body, testing the various spots. The unassured posture turned stoic, and hardened at the reveal.
"Speak. I know you have a tongue. That was the one thing they couldn't take from you."
There was still silence. Enveloping; stale. Just the buzzing from the floodlights which became more and more displacing as the disconnect grew. He sighed. Off went the jacket, the gloves, which after he fluidly turned his back to the table beside the gurney which held all of his medical gear. From the neatly placed row, he pulled out a scalpel. With no statement or precursor, he laid her down and began to slice the familiar cadaver's cut so he may get a further look inside. As he cut he heard a quiet melancholy song whistling inside the body muffled by the pounds of flesh.
The insides looked normal. Nothing was corrupted by entering Stitches. However, the true demeanor showed through past the fear and confusion. Despite that, on surface level, everything was normal… aside from the short tune that repeated in its pianissimo. Doctor paused, and placed his scalpel on the dish where he put his used utensils. He dragged a nearby stool over, and sat, staring her in the eye. Even though she could not see it, he knew that she knew.
"Speak, dear. I want your story. You are not like other patients I have had. Your body has not molded or corrupted or changed to reveal your woes as others have to show me who they are. Who they have become on the inside beneath their shell, the thing they hide from the world above all else. I want to know, I don't want to take your story from you. As they have probably taken your life."
"Kill me," she rasped, her eyes as blank and staring straight ahead as they have been.
The song grew louder, to a mezzo-piano, and the heart began to beat irregularly. Extra pulses rose in quick jabs. The commotion caught the doctor's eye, and he picked up his scalpel again.
"You leave me with no choice."
Slowly, he started at the top of the heart cutting through the aortic chambers to reveal a small finch sized song bird that stared him dead in the eye. It stopped singing to open its beak threateningly, spreading its wings within the confines of the muscle's wall. At the soonest chance, the bird dove for freedom, only to be yanked back by an invisible tether. It struggled against it, making a cacophony of noise as it did so with its wings flapping furiously.
"You see," Whispered the doctor as he gently cupped the bird to place back inside the muscle, "We are who we are through meticulous dissection and suturing of all the things we come by… And so, by that logic we should have control of the things that shape us. That make us who we are. Why, just look. You have this beast that still puts up the good fight for you and you want to die? Pity."
He placed the bird inside the cavity, and it went back to whistling its song quietly, choosing to nestle its head under a wing.
"I know why the caged bird sings."
With a sharp raise of his head, the man stared at the body beneath him, brow furrowed while his hands prepared the sutures. "And, how exactly do you know what it is? You are blind."
"Being blind does not equal being stupid. I know why it sings. For it laments the taste of freedom that it gets so sparingly. Freedom that, isn't truly freedom at all. For if it were truly free, it would have free will. And that, is something it cannot have. And so, it sings, to disguise the melancholy and listlessness it has deep in its core.
"As much as I could live, and move on, and do so out of spite, the past will haunt me. I may be free, but I am truly not free. And so I am deemed to repeat and renew, and survive this constructed cage that may have been made entirely by myself. So please. If there was anything you could do, it would be to let me free."
By the time she was finished speaking, her eyes fixated on that where the doctor's was, whose were staring at the smokey pupils while he scooped the bird in one of his hands, and grabbed a pair of scissors. He opened them and placed them beneath the bird to where he thought the tether might be, and gave it a purposeful snip. The bird, realizing its severance, stilled its song and immediately dove from its captivity, flying somewhere inside the shop as far away from the body as possible. The corpse's eyes slowly shut in one last heavy exhale of relief.
"While it is usual of me to keep such treasures of those who die, or leave here… I will honor your request, my dear. May you find the peace you were looking for at last."
"Are you sure you want to take her off life support?"
"I think we're sure. We don't know if she'll even be the same if she would wake… if she could wake. The damage is too much."
"Very well. We'll proceed immediately."