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The sparrow.

Some birds will never find themselves protected within golden cages. Nor do they ne ed to be. Some will always fly free, covering the trajectory from the cornice to the windowsill and from there to the lamppost and, a little further on, to the garbage containers of the supermarket.

These birds will enjoy daily baths of relaxing light and others of earth that begin by their sticking their beaks into grains of sand and end with a shake of their wings and a fluffing of their head feathers. With their dark and lively eyes, these birds, the sparrows, for example, always scrutinize their surroundings in search of a scuffle over a crumb that they steal away from larger birds, perhaps pigeons. Some children will never have a game console and more than fifty games. Nor do they need one. Some will always run on the streets, spinning a wheel, or kicking a half- inflated ball, and they will be Kaká, Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi, and, with a bit more luck, they will play in a dirt field with a couple of net-less goal posts and the pyramids profiled in the distance.

These children will enjoy the shared sweat and the laughter of victory or the tears of defeat. With shining eyes, these children, for example those of Manial or Al Ahra to resound on the street of Al Fatha, in Rhoda, when he scores a goal. His face is almost always covered with the grey dust of the street, which no longer has any asphalt. He isn’t the leader of the group, nor the toughest. When the others raise their voices to claim which side of the field they will play on or to decide who will be Real Madrid and who Barcelona, he usually stands distracted, observing the sparrows screech excitedly as they fly from window to window among the sheets hung out to dry. He watches a small, brownish one, its feathers covered with the grey dust of the street, distance itself from the hubbub to enjoy the remains of taameya that someone has let drop from their lunch. Then he smiles and returning to the group picks up the ball that has fallen at his feet, as they tell him: “you will be Casillas”. His favourite.

by Nuria tesón