I'm just going to say it. I've been bit by the bird love bug, and it's only been four days.
It started off as a normal Saturday morning - breakfast with Mom at one of our favorite spots - except there was an unusual guest in the restaurant this day. A pint-sized parrot, robin's egg blue and green feathers, perched atop the shoulder of a young woman. I'd never seen anything like him. She and her husband sat at their table over breakfast, enthusiastically cooing and fussing over him as if he were a newborn baby. They seemed sweet, perhaps even a little strange, and so it wasn't difficult for me to imagine Ricardo and I in the same scenario, sitting with a parrotlet over breakfast at a cafe.
When I was eleven or so and I became the proud owner of my first rat, Templeton. She'd often sit at the dining room table with me, grasping macaroni and cheese elbows in her paws and daintily chewing them one by one over lunch. I realize that sounds disgusting and unsanitary to the majority of Americans in the general population, but I was also the child who, without qualms, shared my ice cream cone with my beloved dog, whose favorite past time was chowing down on fresh cow pies and road kill. I may not be eleven, or anywhere near that age, and I may not swap saliva with a dog any longer, but I'd still sit at the table with a small pet and share a meal together if I had the chance.
I don't know if that makes me strange or not. I guess I don't really care. I am what I am and always have been: an avid animal lover.
So, following breakfast with Mom, I rushed home. And with a sly, irresistible smile, persuaded my loving husband to accompany me to the very same pet store where the breakfast couple bought their parrotlet. Within two minutes of entering the store, I located the small bird section and fell in love. A little green Pacific Parrotlet won my heart with her extra fluffy feathers, curious cocked expressions and the hilarious way she would track our fingers as we slid them back and forth along her cage. I was a little disheartened to see her price tag, however, and knew we would not be taking her home today. Maybe not ever.
I could have stood in front of her cage for hours, literally, tracking her moves and expressions, those alert, beady eyes and the way she opened and closed her mouth as if she was speaking to me. I made the fatal mistake of naming her - Gracie Lou Green Bird (Miss Congeniality, anyone?) - and all the while, Ricardo stood by, shaking his head in this way that I know so well but is hard to put into words. Basically love, admiration, and incredulation, combined with a slightly dazed look, like, "What were you thinking, God, when you gave me this woman?"
I love that he loves that I love animals.
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