CYSTIC FIBROSIS

Don’t Have a Bird

Some friendships you never forget

Sandi Parsons
Speaking Chronically
14 min readSep 17, 2019

--

An outstretched hand with a ladybird on the tip of the middle finger.
Image by Hellinz from Pixabay

There are so many rites of passage you’d already missed out on, and the school ball is destined to become another item on that ever-growing list. You tried to delay the inevitable until every breath from your lungs sounds as if Cystic Fibrosis is cackling through you. So with a resigned air, off to hospital you go.

Although you’ve been denied the opportunity to attend the ball, no one is prepared to give up the ritual altogether. Instead, your sister Mel, your mum and I, arm ourselves with my ball dress, a curling wand and a bag of makeup. Together we crowd into your hospital room.

We giggle while we do your makeup and curl your hair, then, finally dressed and ready to go, we start our photoshoot. You shine with happiness. As the chief photographer, I have a most important task: to make sure your bare feet never appear in any of the photos to spoil our carefully crafted illusion.

There is a sense of belonging; that someone understands you when they bestow a nickname upon you. But I don’t get mine.

“Why Bird?” I ask. “I’m no bird, I’m all woman.”

You roll your eyes and explain it again. “Bird as in ‘Flip the Bird’ or ‘Don’t have a Bird’.”

--

--

Sandi Parsons
Speaking Chronically

Sandi Parsons lives & breathes stories as a reader, writer, and storyteller📚 Kidlit specialist, dipping her toes in the big kid’s pool.