They Called Him Lou

Betty came to the bird sanctuary about six years ago. Her owner had died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 86. Betty had been with her a long time. She still remembers the day the woman picked her out, from all the other parrots in the pet store, crammed together in that tiny cage. Betty and the woman had been though several apartments, two marriages and four children together. After the kids had grown and the second marriage ended, it was just Betty and the woman. She was mostly sad by then, the woman, spending her days smoking in front of the TV. Betty looked forward to that morning cigarette more than she did breakfast. That was the hardest part of coming to the sanctuary, giving up nicotine.

One day a new bird arrived, another red macaw like her. He was timid and shy. He didn’t even know his own name. Most birds, if you ask them, will tell you their name. But this bird just recited lines from cop shows and mimicked a telephone ringing. The volunteers at the sanctuary decided to call him Lou.

Lou was put into a large cage and wheeled into the room where Betty lived, with all the other shy timid birds. This helped him become acclimated slowly. Lou was found in a foreclosed home with a bucket of dirty water and a bag of dog food spilled onto the floor. No one knows how long he was alone like that. Betty watched him closely the six weeks he spent alone in his cage.

The day had finally come; a volunteer came into the room and opened the door on Lou’s cage. She left the room, letting Lou decide when he was ready to come out of his cage and join the rest of the birds in the room. Betty waited and watched. She had fallen in love with Lou and hoped that he felt the same way. She hadn’t known it but that empty feeling she had felt her whole life could only be filled by another bird, and that bird was Lou.

After many hours, Lou finally made his way out the cage. Using his strong claws and beak, he climbed onto the top of his cage. He looked around the room for a quiet perch to call his own. He flew, as far as his clipped wings would take him, to a low perch in the corner of the room.  Betty hopped down off her perch and with an awkward waddle, made her way over to Lou. She stood next to him. He scooted a little closer to her, and she scooted closer to him. The feathers on his neck ruffled up and Betty tucked her beak into the folds. Lou cooed and rested his head on top of hers. From that moment on there were never more than a few inches of space between Betty and Lou.

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Assignment #2

Betty and Lou fell in love at a bird sanctuary. Lou was a shy bird who took a chance and reached out to Betty. After a few years at the sanctuary, the pair was sent to Costa Rica where it was hoped that their close connection would lead to breeding. 

The two birds with clipped wings were packed together into a small cage for a five hour flight. Betty and Lou huddled close together, scared in the dark cold belly of the plane. Their new home was essentially a giant cage deep in the forest; it was bright and hot and flooded with humid tropical air. Neither Lou nor Betty had ever been directly under the sun or out in the open air.

Betty and Lou settled in and do what two birds in love sometimes do, they made another bird. His name was Jeffery. Jeffery wasn’t close with his parents. In fact they had rejected him while he was still just an egg. Instead, Jeffery was raised by human hands in preparation for being released back into the forest.

The human hands prepared a special surprise for Jeffery on the first anniversary of his hatching. They gathered up all of his favorite fruits and nuts and put them in a special small cage that hung off the fenced wall of the sanctuary. He spent the afternoon eating and chattering with a wild flock that had gathered in the nearby trees.  The gate on the side of the small cage was opened to the forest. The wild flock called out to Jeffery. He watched as they dove down, disappearing into the darkness of the forest before swooping back up to the top of the canopy. He wanted to dive and swoop. He hoped back and forth, nervously before making the leap, out of the sanctuary and into the forest, joining the wild flock in the tree tops.

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