Chapter two part one – Bonding, part one
‘There’s someone at the door for you.’
I left my toys alone and headed to where my mother was. She was looking out of the window with a smile on her face.
‘Look, it’s that boy who always plays with you at school. Isn’t it nice of him to come visit?’
Surprised, I saw Wyatt standing outside of the door. How did he know where I lived? Did he follow me all the way from school? We had been playing together for a while now, but I never told him where I lived…
‘Hello, Wyatt,’ I said shyly, opening the door for him. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘Tali, come quickly!’ he panted, out of breath. ‘I found something amazing!’
‘What?’ I responded. ‘What did you find?’
‘It’s right across your yard. Come on, before it flies away again! Come, come!’
Curiosity won from fear in my head and a few seconds later, I was out of the house and following Wyatt across the street.
‘Look, it’s right there! A cockatiel!’
Hewas right. There was a big, multi-coloured bird sitting on the sand patch right across the street. It saw us coming towards it and tweaked and hissed a bit, but didn’t fly away. It was a really beautiful bird. I wanted to pet it straight away, and Wyatt probably did, too.
‘It doesn’t look very wild,’ I said. ‘Do… do you think it can fly?’
‘Sure it can. I saw it land on the sand here and went to get you right away,’ he responded. We slowly approached the bird, who didn’t seem to mind at all.
‘I know!’ Wyatt said enthusiastically. ‘Let’s catch it and make it our pet!’
He stepped closer to the bird and stretched out his fingers to grab it, but mister bird seemed to have different plans. He angrily flapped his wings about, hissed and made biting gestures to Wyatt with his beak, making him jump back in fright.
‘Aah! Careful, Tali! This thing bites!’
He took another step back.
‘Maybe we should leave it alone…’
‘Umm… let me try,’ I muttered from behind my curtain of hair. I sank to my knees and carefully held out my arm to the bird. It didn’t seem very friendly, but it wasn’t trying to bite me either.
‘That’s a good bird. Why are you here by the road all by yourself?’ I sang with a soft voice. ‘You’re really pretty for a wild bird. And there’s cats here, you know. You should come with us, where you’re safe.’
The bird was fidgeting for a bit and then, all of a sudden, it jumped towards me. I flinched and thought it was going to bite, but it just hopped on top of my arm.
‘Look! Wyatt, we caught it!’
‘Yes!’ he yelled, clapping his hands. ‘We got the bird, we got the bird!’
‘We… we should name it,’ I smiled. ‘Do you think it’s a boy, or a girl?’
‘Does it matter?’ Wyatt grinned. ‘Let’s give it a name that you can give to both!’
I slowly got up from the ground. The bird tightened its grip on my arm, but didn’t fly away. Maybe it wasn’t a wild bird after all.
‘Okay. Let’s see… we’ll call you…’
‘How does Robin sound?’ Wyatt suggested. I already had a different name in mind, but I quickly nodded and turned away from him.
‘Good. Nice to meet you, Robin! We’re your new owners.’
‘Where should we keep it?’ I asked shyly. Wyatt frowned.
‘I think it should stay with you,’ he said. ‘They won’t be happy with a bird in the house where I live.’
He said those last few words with a cold voice, and I remembered what those boys from a few weeks ago had said. He was an orphan… Did he live with new parents he didn’t like?
‘I’ll take him,’ I nodded quickly. ‘But we… we should look after him together. Or do you not want to…?’
‘Of course I want to. He’s my pet, too.’
And that’s how it happened. Wyatt went home, promising me he’d come by and play with Robin every day. I was a bit nervous with the thought of him being near me so often, but for some reason it felt nice, too.
After saying goodbye to each other, I took Robin and headed back home.
They were all in the living room, but Thomas saw us first.
‘Oh, wow! Look, Pooch, Natalia got a bird!’
They both ran towards me and admired Robin’s beautiful colours.
‘That is so awesome, sis!’ Thomas smiled. ‘Where did you get him? Is he a wild bird? Can I hold him, too?’
I nodded and then looked and mum and dad, who were looking at Robin with much less enthusiasm in their eyes than Thomas.
‘Young lady,’ daddy said seriously, ‘I thought we made an agreement not to have any more pets besides Pooch. Where did you get that parrot?’
‘I found it, daddy. It was sitting all by itself. It’s so cute, mummy. Can we keep it? Pleeeaaaase?’
They looked at each other for a while, but then gave in.
‘Well, all right. But you’ll have to take care of it all by yourself, you hear? Taking care of a bird is a big responsibility, and if you neglect it, we’ll take it to a pet shop where they’ll care for it better.’
‘Yay!’ I cheered. ‘Thank you, mummy, daddy!’
‘You’re welcome,’ mum smiled. ‘Now take that bird upstairs and join us for dinner. We’re having your father’s favourite today.’
‘Ewww, pea soup? That’s gross!’ Thomas whined.
‘Don’t you talk about pea soup like that, young man!’ mum scolded. ‘What do you think helped your father get those muscles?’
‘Réálly? Pea soup makes you grow muscles? I want some, too!’
I chuckled and walked upstairs.
‘Thank you for the meal!’
‘Yeah… it was… pretty gross-‘
‘I- I mean it was delicious! Thank you for the meal!’
After washing up and a short try to make my homework, mum and dad went to bed early. Thomas was still on the phone with friends from school, but it was our bedtime, as well. So I headed to the stairs and started to climb up. Before I even made the first step, though, I froze and turned around again to face the door.
Wyatt was standing right outside. Again. And at nine in the evening… what did he want?
‘Hello again…’ I muttered after opening the door. ‘Did you come to see… how Robin is doing?’
He was looking nervous. Wyatt kept looking over his shoulder and left and right into the street, as if he was afraid that someone was coming.
‘Ah, well, that’s not really it,’ he frowned. ‘Can I… can I come in?’
‘Um… sure,’ I said. ‘We still have some dinner if you’re hungry… shall I ask mum to heat it for you?’
‘No, no, please don’t tell them I’m here.’
I never kept secrets to my mother. Ever. There were a lot of things I didn’t tell dad, but mum always knew everything.
‘What? Why?’ I asked. Wyatt was nervously fidgeting in the doorway.
‘Can I just come to your room? Please?’
I looked at Thomas, who was still talking in the phone across the room. He wasn’t looking our way.
‘Well… all right. Come this way.’