Branching Out

FIVE BIRDS BY THE NORTH GATE
Chapter 2: Branching Out

 

It was around three or four o’clock in the morning when the Red Owl first woke up. The moon was still out, and the stars still filled the night sky. There was a gentle coolness in the air; the kind that gave his feathered body a soothing chill.

Today’s the day, huh, thought the Red Owl to himself. Shaking the last ounce of sleep that was still in him, he readied himself and set out for the Aviary. Like the Blue Peacock, another one of his friends was going to leave.

It was Pink Parrot’s turn to say farewell.

The Red Owl chuckled as he recalled how it all came about a few years back. It’s been that long? Nice. It had been one pretty interesting flight that led to another, and to another. He was glad when the Blue Peacock decided to stay for a few more moons. Eventually though, she would soon have to make the same decision, this time with more resolve. It was quite a moving farewell, but he and the rest of the birds– the Pink Parrot, the Green Eagle, and the Yellow Dove– knew that in the end it was all for the best.

And now, it was Pink’s turn to say goodbye. On the few occasions when they would get around to talk, it was usually when most of the others had gone home, or had settled in for the night. On one of those nights, the Pink Parrot whispered this to the Red Owl:

“I’ve been flying over the border”

“Oh. Really?” hooted the Red Owl. He’d been across the border a few times, back before he decided to land at the Aviary.

“Yes, I’m thinking of staying there someday,” said Pink with a smile, “Know any good places?”

“Haha. Maybe one or two,” said Red.

Now the Red Owl was about to ask the Pink Parrot if she had already told the Yellow Dove and the Green Eagle about her plan, but then he decided not to. It was most likely that Yellow already knew; Green probably did as well, but to be honest, he wasn’t really sure. With all the things that had happened between them, he had chosen the solitary life once more. So it wouldn’t be a shock if it turned out that he was actually the last one to know about this recent development.

It would be a couple of moons later before Pink and Red got another chance to talk again. They’d swap stories of how her travels went, the adventures she had, and a few bright and colorful stories here and there. During all those times, Red would just sit back and smile as he listened to every word. True, he could  be spending this time trying to change Pink’s mind. But if there was one thing the Red Owl understood, it was the beauty of having a dream; of having a goal, and wanting to do everything in your power to make it into a reality. The times were not exactly worry-free, and if there was a way to make it better, then who was he to try to stop it?

Still, this wasn’t easy for the Red Owl, knowing that soon he’d have to say farewell to one of his favorite singing partners. There was no denying it, the Pink Parrot was a great singer. Yes, he would be amused sometimes whenever Pink would close her eyes while she was singing, like a diva at a concert. But the passion was there, and if there was anything that gave a song such a powerful impact, then it would be the heart and soul behind it. When the time finally comes for Pink to leave the Aviary, the Red Owl knew that he was going to feel very sad, watching her fly away.

Now was not the time for that though. With his big, bright eyes looking at the Pink Parrot , the Red Owl asked again:

So, what’s the next song we’re going to sing?”

“Oh, how about that one about being.. sleepy? Haha!”

Wherever the Pink Parrot was heading, Red was confident she was going to make it. She was smart, she was funny, and yes, a bit crazy. With all that, and the song in her heart, the Red Owl knew that whichever branch she decided to settle into, the Pink Parrot would be successful. And for sure, she will have yet another bright and colorful story to tell.

 
-Ed. E.

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