The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.


An elementary-aged girl pushed the button for the tram to stop, then turned to her birdcage, which she had propped on a nearby seat. She exhaled and prepared herself with a nod at the window, at the floor. Inside were two disquieted parakeets. With a consoling whisper, she adjusted a sheet over the cage and stretched her arms wide. When the car lurched to halt, she steadied herself, then hoisted them up. The cage was the width of her wingspan. She peered over the top, her heavy shoes patting their way toward the stairs, her fingers reddening.

She made a small gasp of effort to stay upright, but no one moved to her aid. The twitch of her nose, the line of her brow revealed she was grateful that everyone kept to themselves. She rode the tram alone, she buttoned up her own jacket, and she was the birds’ mother, after all. She made her way out and marched off with small grunts of effort, not taking a break, carrying on. Though the bystanders didn’t come to her aid, they did beam over her departure: the doors jerky, the stairs steep, and the strangers gazing over this small determination making an exit.

-Vienna, Austria.

wien, vienna, grafitti

6 comments on “Self-Sufficient

  1. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    November 30, 2011

    Another opening scene for a movie. You have such nice eye for detail. Do you take notes all the time? Have a photographic memory? Or embellish where necessary to make a point?

  2. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    November 30, 2011

    I think I’m a serial describer. I love writing down the people I see in the way some people like taking photos. With a camera, I get my fingers in the way. So instead, I have notebooks full of these little scenes. I’m trying to stay true to what I wrote and can remember. Though I know it’s me, so I will see all old people–for example–as much more adorable than they may actually have been. Regardless. When I get back for Christmas I am going to bust out the Bosnia notebooks. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and supporting the blog, Steve!

  3. Barb Schoeneberger
    May 28, 2012

    I enjoyed reading this post. So glad you’ve joined Sunday Snippets and I hope you’ll come back. You write very well. I could see the little girl with her bird cage.

    • Thanks so much! I look forward to the Sunday Snippets. It’s a great way to find other bloggers with the same mindset! Have a beautiful week. -Paige

  4. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    October 29, 2012

    Reblogged this on The Nice Thing About Strangers and commented:

    Visiting family in the Pacific Northwest. Furiously taking notes…

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This entry was posted on November 30, 2011 by in Europe, Inspiration, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .

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