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Hundreds of people walked past her every day.

Some simply didn’t notice her and walked past. Some ignored her with a sneer, or glared at her. She knew what they were thinking. She didn’t care.

Occasionally one of them would come up to her and tell her to move on. Some were polite about it, others cursed and swore, and some quoted regulations and laws. She would pick up her bags of crumbs and wander away to settle down somewhere else. She knew the birds would follow, and she didn’t care what the people thought of her.

Not considering what she knew about them.

She had fed the birds for many years, ever since the first one spoke to her. Ever since she heard the first secret.

A sparrow was the first to know; he told it to a dove. The dove told a passing pigeon, who told it to a gull. The gull screamed it out over the sea. A crow heard it, and brought it back to me.

Now she sat on the promenade, as the waves kissed the shore and brought the seagulls home, scattering crumbs and listening to the birds as they told her all the things they had overheard.

© Kari Fay