I've been holding off on giving you an update on The Bird, because I wanted to wait until the situation resolved itself. But, it has only evolved, without a final resolution. But that's OK, because this is my new life, where things don't have to be perfectly resolved, n'est-ce pas?
It's a lovely story, and a sad story. A magical story. Let me begin...
Last month, I was sitting on my bed, in my usual blogging position, minding my own business, with all the floor-to-ceiling doors flung wide open in our sixth-floor apartment. That's when a bird flew through one of the doors and perched itself on top of a large mirror we have. I saw it, out of the corner of my eye, as it flew in, and I noticed that it was blue. I was pretty amazed when I got closer to it and realized it was a blue parakeet. I wrote about it, and posted pictures of our blue bird visitor here.
We really did all we could think of to try and find this bird's owner, some of which was pretty funny. Like the fact that we made three different sets of signs, as we tried to find the correct French word for parakeet (we still don't know what it is). We told our guardien, and put a sign in the lobby of our building. Nobody called us. I also emailed our friend P, who is letting us use his apartment, to see if he knew of anyone who may have lost a parakeet. P is well known, and well loved, in the neighborhood, so I figured he'd know who owned birds. I told him we were concerned that our cat wanted to eat the bird, and we would prefer to find the bird's owner as soon as possible. Here's his interesting reply:
LISA & BARTOS
I'M PRETTY MUCH IN A SPEED PERIOD BUT WILL GET TO YOU SOON .KEEP THE
BIRD MEANWHILE AND WE WILL EAT THE CAT FOR DINNER .
ALL MY LOVE TO BOTH .
We had no cage, so we locked the bird in the bathroom and I found some seed sticks for him at Monoprix and set out a bowl of water. My mother told me I was meant to have that bird, because it looked just like Barry, the bird we had and loved so much as kids.
One morning, I walked out of my apartment into the hallway and pressed the elevator button. At the same time, the mysterious inhabitant of the apartment next door also came into the hallway. And she was this tall, lovely girl. I smiled. She smiled. I said in bad French, "Madame, my French is not very good, but, do you know of anyone who might have lost a blue bird?" She looked a little confused and stepped back a bit. I continued in bad French, "It flew into my window but I have a cat, and the cat wants to eat the bird." "Oh!" she said. By this time, we were squeezed into the elevator together. It's a French elevator, the kind that fits one fat man or two skinny women. I'm not so skinny.
At the lobby, as we stepped out, she was speaking English with me, but we were interrupted by the Local Lecherous Larry who sidled up to my neighbor and said in good French, "She looks like Brigitte Bardot!" My neighbor laughed a little laugh and scooted out of his way. That was the end of our conversation.
The next day, That Guy was walking up the stairs and this same lovely neighbor asked him if she could come in and see the bird. He said, "Mais, bien sur!" She came into our bathroom and smiled and watched the bird and smiled some more. She didn't want to leave.
Days went by. Nobody called about the bird. That Guy and I liked the bird, but in our current situation, we don't need one more thing (for me) to worry about. We have our ritual. We take the bird's cage into the bathroom and cover it with a towel at night. And then when I get up in the morning, I change the bird's water and food, repeat "Pretty Bird!" 92 times in hopes his bird brain can memorize and repeat it, and then hang him in the sun outside, so he can talk to the huge African gray parrot on the balcony across the street.
A week or so later, P called me, out of the blue, so to speak. He told me he couldn't believe the miracle about the bird flying into my window. Then he told me why he thought it was a miracle.
He and our lovely lady next door had been very close friends. She had always wanted a parakeet. So, they went to all the pet shops along the Seine to see if they could find her one. They were all way too expensive. So, she researched it a bit, and found a place just outside of Paris where they breed parakeets. So, they took a motorcycle ride out there and she selected her bird. A blue bird. A blue parakeet. She brought her bird home, nurtured and loved her bird. She was in heaven.
Then one day, she had to go to Milan for work (she's an actress), and asked P to watch the bird. He said, "Masi, bien sur!" And off she went. P hung the bird's cage in the bathroom, just like we do now, and went to bed. Somehow, the bird escaped his cage during the night, and snuggled up in bed with P.
And P rolled over on it and killed it.
Now, you can understand why, when I asked my next door neighbor if she knew anyone who had "lost a blue bird" that she stepped back from me. She knew someone who had lost a bird, and it was herself. And you can understand why her very close friendship with P was not so close anymore.
For the next week or so, That Guy and I knocked on our neighbor's door many times. But there was no answer. We wanted to tell her that she could have the bird. That we wanted her to have it, as a gift.
One day, That Guy went out the door and pushed the elevator button. Our neighbor came out at the same time. That Guy said we wanted to give her the bird. She said she had been thinking of asking us if she could have the bird. He said we would love for her to have it, because we would know that it was well loved, and we could come and visit it. She said, "Mais, bien sur!" and they agreed that when she returned from her trip to Milan on Monday (this was last Monday), she would come and get the bird.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday went by. No neighbor. Finally, this past weekend, That Guy ran into her again. This time, she said, "I would prefer not to have the bird."
Ah. I'm sad. Sad for her, sad for our friend P, and sad for the bird. Maybe it was too much of a risk to take, after all she had lost before.
Now, we still have an unnamed bird. We have our ritual. The bird has not yet started to repeat Pretty Bird. But it squawks to be let out of its cage, while our cat Mao sits, worshiping at the foot of the cage, eyes squinting, mouth slightly open and drooling, nose sniffing, sometimes squeaking with desire, hoping upon hope, that we let the bird out of its cage.
This time, it would not be me, or That Guy, who would roll on it.