She ambled across another crossroad, the soles of her shoes scuffing on worn-out road.

Puffing her breath once, twice, to see the clouds of hot air, she noticed a bird gliding towards her. How majestic, she thought. The bird landed, perched on her shoulder.

Mr. Bird, you’ve got to be the freest creature that has ever existed on Earth, she remarked.

‘How’d you know I was a mister?’ the bird chirped.

You’ve got the most beautiful feathers I’ve ever seen, and even your chest is puffed up in pride—just like human misters.

‘I do, do I?’ he replied. He looked thoughtful for a moment, and then proceeded to ask, ‘What makes you think I am free?’

You can fly anywhere your wings take you. You are not restricted by anybody. No one will stop you in the middle of your flight and tell you you’re doing this wrong, or that you should really be doing that. At night, you’ve still got the moon and all the stars, plus the company of countless other birds who are as equally free as you. We are stuck on the ground. We cannot manipulate our forms to be able to glide in the wind as you are able to. We cannot sing in a way that makes other species pause for a while to wish that they could also sing like that.

‘Yes’, he agreed, ‘but the moon is also for 938 billion other birds, not to mention seven billion humans, made up in fishermen, thinkers, prostitutes, and engineers.

‘Anyways, you’re not limited either. You’ve proven yourselves to be the most forward-progressing species on this Earth, (and in doing so, also the most destructive). There seems to be nothing you can’t do. You’ve been on the moon, for Pete’s sakes! You can take pictures of galaxies far beyond your reach and show them off to everybody!’

Oh Mr. Bird, she thought. We put more limitations on ourselves and others of our kind than you may think.

But the bird just flew away, and she continued her way down the sidewalk.