I’ve been here for a good few years, now. Every single night, numerous students walk past me, using the river-path as a shortcut to get back home. Sometimes, they must think I’m thirsty; men stand against me and urinate on my long neck. If I’m honest, I don’t really like it. I’d much rather be given a stick of bamboo to chew on. After all, I do watch after them as they stagger down the steps, clutching a bottle of half empty Sainsbury’s Basics Cider. I always make sure the swans don’t eat them, even if they do put their cigarettes out on my fur. That burns, you know.
Sometimes, the swans come and talk to me. They don’t like flying up the steps but its tough because I can’t move, can I? It’s not my fault some graffiti artist sprayed me on the wall and decided to give me a long neck. I’m not a bloody giraffe, you know. I can’t even go and talk to my brothers who live a bit further downstream. It’s okay, though; I send messages to them through ducks and they occasionally find the time to respond. However, they have each other and just share leaves between themselves. I don’t get any leaves, just the odd takeaway carton thrown at me from Pizza King. Sometimes there are some leftover vegetables in the carton, even if it is a bit of limp lettuce and not delicious bamboo. I miss bamboo. Sometimes, my mother sends me some for Christmas and its delivered mid-December, via a swan with a big, red bow tied around its neck.
Every Wednesday morning, at around ten o’ clock, an old lady comes to visit the ducks and brings a loaf of bread with her. When I watch her throw the bread into the river, some of its speckled with green and even that reminds me of bamboo. Ducks in Leicester are a little stupid so they gobble the bread right up and then wonder why they throw up three hours later. I suppose they blame it on a dodgy water-bug though and not the generous old lady whose hair is as white as swan feathers.
By Laura Jones, DMU, Leicester