The Beautiful Golden Songbird – A Short Story, Part 6

Golden Songbird by Yuichi Tanabe
The next day they set off early in their old car. Paul and his mother were both more excited than they had expected to be. His father seemed happy and talked about the city and how different it would be for them all to live there. As they drew closer to the city he started to point out different buildings and places of interest, explaining that their house was in the center but that the road went around the outskirts because of the river. Finally they pulled up on a street outside a nice looking house. “This is it!” he said. “And there’s the person with the key to let us in. Let’s go!”

Paul and his mother exchanged glances and obediently got out of the car. As they made their way to the house Paul was looking around, noticing that there were trees lining the street and it looked like some kind of park at the end of the road. They went inside and Paul’s mother began to examine each room, starting with the kitchen. She seemed excited and happy, and Paul wandered off to explore the rest of the house, hoping there would be a back yard, which indeed there was. It was small, but quite well kept with fruit trees as well as a colorful flower bed.

As he made his way through the rooms, which had a few pieces of furniture here and there, something caught his eye. There was a stand with something hanging on it, something covered in a cloth. He removed the cloth and to his surprise there was a beautiful birdcage! It was empty, and very clean, with places to put water and food and several perches. Paul looked at it in disbelief; it was perfect for his bird! Taking it off the stand he carried it over to where his mother was admiring the back yard. “Mother, look, it’s a lovely birdcage. I want to bring a bird from where we live, to remind me you know of all the good things there.”

His mother turned to look and seemed to hesitate. Paul’s father came over and smiled, “Yes, that’s a fine idea Paul. A bird would be a fine thing. I think this house will do very well don’t you both?” He looked at them both hopefully.

Paul was nodding agreeably, thinking that he had no choice so he must just make the best of it, and if he could bring his bird it might be alright. His mother was nodding too. She said that the kitchen was fine, and the rooms seemed to be a good size. Paul’s father was looking relieved and happy. “So I can tell them we’ll take it,” he said. “There’s a lot to organize to bring all our belongings but you can take care of that, right dear?” He looked at his wife who was nodding and smiling. “Yes, dear, it’s going to be quite an adventure!”

And an adventure it was. Paul’s mother seemed to have come to life as she coordinated the move. She quickly sorted out their furniture into two groups: one to go to the city and one to be left behind. Then she started packing things in boxes. Paul was helpful when she asked him to do something but most days he was able to escape, suggesting that he was just in the way. He had gone to visit his Bird as promised, and told her that big changes were coming. He hadn’t brought the birdcage yet, although his mother had almost packed it in a box one day!

That decided him and he took the cage the next day on his visit to the bird’s tree. Of course he had brought cookies too. He settled himself down and started to eat the first cookie, putting a piece in the cage. As soon as he called out the bird appeared. She looked at the cage but took a piece of cookie, and then perched on his finger as if to say well, what’s that thing for?
Paul moved his other hand towards the cage, putting a piece of cookie inside. “Would you like to check it out?” he suggested. The bird looked at him and then hopped over to the door of the cage. As Paul held his breath she looked in at the piece of cookie, and then hopped in, chirping. Paul closed the door quietly and sat there eating his cookie. “Well, Bird, now you’re in the birdcage! What do you think of it?” The bird was busy exploring, and had found the other piece of cookie so she gave an answering chirp and seemed quite content.

“We’re going to the city in a couple of days, and I really want you to come with me,” Paul said. “So I think I’ll bring you to our house now, and then you’ll be all ready for the big move. Don’t be afraid.” Picking up the cage he started to move down the tree, trying to balance it so that the bird wouldn’t be too disturbed. When he reached the ground he looked at the bird, and she was looking back at him. “It’s okay, Bird. I’ll take care of you, and we can be together in my new house.”

Paul carried the cage carefully back home and into his room. The bird was quiet, but seemed fine. She even gave a gentle chirp when Paul placed the cage on a table that was apparently on the list of things not to bring to the city. He put the dish of water he’d prepared into the cage and also some food in case she got hungry, and went downstairs to see if there was any dinner. When he came back he put the cover on the birdcage, thinking that would let the bird sleep. As he lay in bed that night he thought to himself that now he was ready for his new adventure in the city.

Copyright © Jennifer P. Tanabe, 2015

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