Sunday, September 16, 2007

Anna and the Bird

Anna and the Bird
"Look Anna, all your friends came for your birthday," a lady in a pink suit encouraged her. Anna looked up for a moment and saw a group of women with their eyes closed and shook her head. "Some birthday," she said while looking at the cake on the table. She saw the numbers 97 written in green icing and couldn't believe it. She was 97 years old. She couldn't see very well, and the only time she could hear very well was with her hearing aid which caused a terrible buzzing in her head. She looked into the mirror and saw the old lady looking back at her. "97" she said out loud, and closed her eyes, hoping that sleep would come and take away her thoughts for a while.

She woke up in the television room and saw the bird in its cage and wheeled over to talk to him.

"Hello" she said, and the bird answered her back with a series of chirping noises before flying to the back of his cage.

"I guess you don't like company, I don't either," she explained to the bird.

"You and I are both all alone, don't you see?" she asked the bird, and again the bird answered her and she was happy that he understood her. The lady in pink then returned and began wheeling her out, but Anna placed her feet firmly on the ground and took one last look at her friend. "I'll come back," she assured him, and then gave in and returned to her room.

When she returned the next day she saw two boys next to her friend who were trying to make the bird talk.

"What a crummy bird," one boy remarked, and the other laughed out loud.

"Poke him with a stick maybe that will make him talk," the other boy suggested.

Anna had seen enough and wheeled over to the boys and knocked the stick out of their hands.

"He talks just fine," she scolded them. "Don't you see he sometimes doesn't feel like talking," she continued. "He's old and he's tired and he doesn't always think straight, so give him a break," she went on, now speaking very loudly.

And with that the boys went back to find their mother, embarrassed and even a little ashamed that they had upset the old woman like that.

"No one understands us anymore," she said to her friend, who knowingly chirped back to her. "We're the last of our bunch, you and I," she sighed and the bird looked back at her with knowing eyes.

"People think we're crazy now, but we know better don't we?”
she said, and again the bird agreed and she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Weeks went by and she and the bird continued their afternoon discussions. One day while coming to see him she saw a woman and a child taking the bird away and she became very alarmed.
"Where are you taking him?” Anna demanded.

"This is Paddy, and he belongs to my son," the woman patiently explained. "He's been part of our family for years, but we brought him here when we got a new dog, do you know Paddy?” the woman asked.

"I think you're mistaken young lady," Anna replied as she wheeled herself over to the woman. "He belongs here now; you see he was no longer useful in the outside world so they brought him here." Anna said defiantly. "And now that he's here, I assure you he intends to stay here."

The woman was take aback and thought long and hard about what the old woman was saying. She had dumped the bird in the nursing home when he became an imposition to the family, hadn't she? She looked down at the old woman and saw the resolve in her eyes, and came to a decision.

"You know he does seem to like it here, so maybe it is better if he stays for a while," and with that she put the birdcage down and ran swiftly out to her car, thinking about the old woman and the bird, and what would happen to her when she got to be that age. She hoped her son would understand about the bird, and in her mind she rehearsed her speech. Hoping that he would have sympathy for the old woman and understand. Hoping that he would have sympathy for her when she was an old woman and that he would remember how she had taken care of him.

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