The Beautiful Golden Songbird – A Short Story, Part 5

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Golden Songbird by Yuichi Tanabe
One day Paul’s world came crashing down. His father announced that they were moving to the city! He explained that his job had changed, that he no longer needed to travel to all the different villages to see his clients, that he would only meet people in the city. So it made sense to move to there. Paul would be able to finish his studies at a good school, and his mother would have more opportunities to meet people and do things with other women. He seemed to expect Paul and his mother to be happy, excited even about the news. But both of them just stared at him blankly.

Paul was in shock, he had lived in this remote place for so long, hadn’t been in touch with other kids his age for years, and his bird lived here! This news meant his whole world would change. His mother recovered first, or at least was able to say something. It was basically just along the lines of “that sounds nice, dear,” but Paul felt that she was accepting it too easily. He wanted to question, to argue against the move, but his father started talking again, mentioning how Mr. Black was really too old to continue to tutor Paul so he would have to go to the school in the city. Paul looked at him and managed a nod. “Um, when will we go?” he said.

“We should go as soon as possible,” his father responded. “There’s a house we can move into at the end of the month. Would you both like to come and see it so we can decide if it’s suitable?” This was more to his wife than to Paul since his father was aware that the house would be of great significance to her. “A house in the city? Yes, I’d like to see it. Can we go tomorrow, or the next day might be better,” Paul’s mother was actually showing interest.

His father looked relieved, and said that the next day would be better. He had to arrange for someone to show them the house. Paul was relieved, at least one day to prepare himself to go to the city, so he nodded his agreement and quickly escaped to his room. Sitting on his bed he wondered what to do. How could he leave this place, and his bird?

As he thought about it more he had to admit that going to school with others his own age did sound quite exciting. And even though it wasn’t New York City, the only city he could even vaguely remember, still there might be fun things to see and do. Yet the thought of leaving his bird weighed heavily on him. At least I can go and visit her today he decided, and quickly picked up his backpack and went towards the kitchen. His parents looked up and nodded when he said he was going for a walk. He took some cookies for the bird and quickly left.

When he reached the tree he climbed up and called out to the bird. Unfortunately there was no answer. Paul called out again, and brought out the cookie hoping to tempt her. “Come on Bird, your favorite cookie!” he called. Still no answer; and Paul started to feel a sense of despair. “Please come, Bird” he said. “I have to see you today.” He started to eat the cookie, and suddenly he heard a familiar chirp and rustling sound and the bird appeared!

“Oh Bird, you’re here!” Paul was so happy he wanted to reach out to the bird. But fortunately he remembered to give her a piece of cookie first. She quickly ate it and hopped towards him looking for more. “Come on my finger, Bird,” Paul said softly. “I’ll share my cookie with you.” The bird looked at him with interest, as if sensing something different. Then she hopped closer and perched on his finger, chirping softly. “Alright, here’s your cookie,” Paul held a small piece out to her. “I won’t see you tomorrow; I have to go to the city. But I’ll come back and tell you all about it!” The bird looked at him and started to sing, softly at first and then building up to her full song voice. Paul was smiling when she finished, and of course gave her another piece of cookie. As she flew off he said again that he’d be back in a couple of days to tell her all about the city.

Copyright © Jennifer P. Tanabe, 2015

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