They called it that, due to the shape of the leaves, but never made an eagle life. He lived in an austere office, and was fed according to the tastes and fantasies of the employees: coffee grounds, bread crumbs and even a few aspirin tablets.
He often exuded a few drops of water. "Look how she cries poor thing. Maybe we hurt her ", said the employee ironically wearing a short skirt, but not as much as she would have liked.
He was a witness of embarrassing declarations of love, of some political whispering, of envy but also of some friendship. She had also heard stories about a country not far away, beyond the sea that she obviously had never seen. It was said that there plants grew free and healthy.
It was days that nobody took care of her anymore. Even the window had remained open. Words flew from the nearby square. He leaned out of the window to see what was happening but saw no one.
Instead we heard the same noises but more clear: politics, students, money, end, communism, freedom. He freed himself carefully from the roots imprisoned in that dry earth and left. He avoided the square so as not to attract attention. Better not risk it; also because the word "freedomHe had heard it all his life without ever reaching it.
He set out towards "where the sun sets" as the employees said. Here is the sea! He sneaked in, forgetting about the sores he had procured by removing the roots. The pain reached the soul, as they used to say; and it was only the first. But the thrill of the journey made her forget everything quickly. Other plants accompanied her on that journey, sharing their destiny and their stories.
They immediately locked her up on her arrival although in a larger space. More breadcrumbs fell on his head accompanied by the noise of a device that flew up there. But also some late sketches. All waiting for the verdict that would arrive soon.
"It damages our flora - was the expert's opinion, called for the occasion- it must be sent back to its habitat". But she couldn't give up. She would come back anyway because she knew there had to be something else outside that space where she had been locked up.
At each attempt he lost a leaf. At first, the most fragile, it was written the funeral of an important person or the promises and proclamations of another. Then it was the turn of the large leaves: a poem born in prison, the songs of the town, the house up there in the hills, the icy wind of the North under the starry sky.
Finally his tortured body was left in peace; maybe they had some pity.
Often he approached the other plants to exchange a few words. But they bent the leaves inward like shields so as not to let even the sweetest whisper penetrate.
Every refusal was marked on his body with a ring-shaped mark, like the count of soldiers who had to go home after a long service. The signs of lost battles. There he stopped to reflect, repeating the usual phrase: "I will have something wrong".
And above each ring, from time to time, sprouted some sprout that grew and became a leaf. But it was not the same as the others left. They didn't seem different to her, but when she returned to her peers they found it hard to recognize her. But they too had changed: they had more fat and deformed leaves.
Perhaps it was the new leaves that had to intrigue the nearby plants: "It looks so different yet it looks so much like it". And they asked her to tell. She never told anything about herself but only stories that they would understand.
He lived long and foggy winters. Perhaps one was harder than the others and is said to be even longer.
He covered himself with his leaves to pass that too. But then there was the awakening with the desire to run east to see those rays of sun that he had dreamed during sleep-hibernation. He could not move because at the first attempt, he felt pains in his belly.
He took a look at where the pains came from and saw white, almost transparent threads that came out of his lap and dispersed into the ground where he had leaned: he had taken root. He looked at them with the same feeling of a mother looking at a child, the fruit of a betrayed love. But he didn't have the courage ... And he cried like he did then.
It is said that for her winters became longer and the sleep deeper. Someone says that only the caresses of the east wind can wake her up. Then her leaves begin to dance an ancient dance that she managed to keep in her heart so that it would not be lost with the leaves. It was called "The dance of the eagles".
This story was originally published in Albania News on 4 October 2010. The story is also available in English language.