“Okay now open your eyes,” Eddie said.
I uncovered my eyes, my stomach flip flopped with excitement. I saw a hideous beetle black eye staring straight at me.
I screamed, “Arghhh what the everlasting fuck! Why don’t you know me at all! Get away.” I sprinted to my bedroom shaking. Eddie gave me a parrot.
I hate birds. Not like they make me nervous or I find them icky. I hate birds. Ever since I was a kid I can’t take birds.
“Honey I’m sorry. So sorry, we met at the park feeding pigeons and I had a bird when I was a kid and you said you had a bird too.
My step mom had a bird not me. I mumbled to myself. I took a shuddering breath. I calmed myself and pasted on my happy face. The day I met Eddie a nasty vermin bird pecked at my shoe and I threw bread to distract it and then collided with Eddie with his box of popcorn. He was kind of hot and I wanted a meet cute so I didn’t tell him of my crappy childhood and laundry list of problems.
I took a deep breath and went back into the living room to pretend I liked Eddie’s gift. I was good at pretending.
I managed to pretend for two whole weeks. I called the bird Charlie when Eddie was around. The big green gold bird was sulky. It became to look seedy and unkempt.
One night when Eddie was staying over the bird screamed a frightened human scream. It scream every few days, then every day.
We took the thing to a vet. I was kind of hoping it was something terminal not painful or lingering just a cough twice and keel over illness. The vet did an exam while the bird tried to nip the vet’s fingers off.
“Feather loss could be parasites or infection but most likely it’s psychological, feather destruction syndrome. She’s just not happy,” the vet said stroking her head. A first I thought the veterinarian was talking about me and then I realized what a jerk I was.
That night I came clean to Eddie. I didn’t tell him everything but enough to let him know I’m not bird parent material. We talked and researched parrot rescues. That night after Eddie fell asleep I went to look at the parrot.
It eyed me leerily.
“I’m sorry bird. I tried, I really tried. We’re not a good fit.”
“What the everlasting fuck? “The bird hissed.
“You’re right. I didn’t try. I fake and hide my true self. I don’t like you because of my own issues. I took it out on you. I’ll make this right. I’ll work on me all right.”
The bird blew a raspberry at me and turned her back.
On Saturday we drove out to the parrot sanctuary. Eddie talked nonstop the way he does filling the silence. I listened and was super interested in whatever he was talking about.
At the sanctuary I didn’t know what I felt. The staff was very kind. I gave a donation to feel better. They let us tour the facility. Grey, white, acid green, carmine so many beautiful colors of birds cawing and flying in the aviaries.
“Can I visit?” I said suddenly as we were walking out. Where did that come from?
“Don’t you know me at all?” The bird said brightly stretching her wings.
On the way to Eddie’s car I could hear Charlie laughing. Then all the birds were laughing. A cacophony of phrases rained down on us on the way back to the parking lot.
“I’ll work on me. I’ll make this right.”
On the ride back I drove. Eddie tried to make small talk. I told him I was sad for me but happy for Charlie and I need some quiet time Eddie smiled and we enjoyed the ride home in silence