Hi! My name is Sam Beishir. I’m a grey-cheeked parakeet…though most people, seeing me for the first time, call me a parrot. Technically, I’m pretty sure parakeets are in the parrot family…aren’t they?
This is my story, though you’ll see my mom’s name on the book cover. I suppose I could have written it all myself—think I couldn’t learn to use a keyboard? Hah! Guess again! Still, why should I do that when I have someone to do it for me? So she gets author credit. I don’t mind. It’s still my story.
I was born—hatched—in South America in 1989. I don’t know exactly when—it’s not as if there was a calendar in the nest—or where. I’m pretty sure it was somewhere in Ecuador. That’s where most of us are from. Then one day, they came—humans, and not good ones. Yes, I know there’s a difference. Of all the creatures God put on this planet, humans are the species that has the most difficulty getting along. They’re also the only species capable of pointless cruelty.
Those humans took many of us that day. I was just a baby and I was scared. I wanted Mommy and Daddy. Did the humans take them, too? I don’t know. I never saw them again.
Because I was just a baby, my memory of that time is kinda sketchy. I remember being taken, I remember a long trip—by plane, I think—and ending up in a place where there were lots of other birds. I heard things…the older birds talked a lot, while we babies huddled together and cried for our parents. One of the big birds said we were in something called Quarantine.
“We’ll be here for a while, then they’ll ship us out to different places,” he declared.
“What other places?” another adult bird asked.
“Places where humans can buy us.”
“Buy us?” Another bird screeched loudly. “For food? They’re going to eat us?”
“No, stupid!” the older bird said, impatient. “They want us for pets.”
“What’s a pet?” a conure asked.
“They take us into their homes, put us in cages, and pretend they can talk to us, that we’re part of their families.”
“Being a pet sounds horrible. I don’t want to be a pet.”
I didn’t want to be a pet, either. I wanted Mommy and Daddy. I started to cry.
“Some of us will get lucky,” the older bird went on. “We’ll find humans who really do love us and will give us good lives—as good as one can have, living in a cage.”
I was already in a cage. I didn’t want another. I wanted to go home…but young as I was, I knew the reality. Home no longer existed.
There was talk of what might happen to those of us who didn’t find the good humans. “We’ll end up moving from home to home, never really loved, sometimes neglected, sometimes worse.”
“Humans who mistreat us.”
That discussion gave the youngest birds nightmares. Some birds couldn’t take the stress, and would die before they could leave quarantine. Every day, birds would be taken away, and those of us who remained would pray those birds would find good humans. We all said our goodbyes with a promise to meet up again one day, but we all knew we wouldn’t see each other again until we crossed the Rainbow Bridge that took us back to our Creator when our lives here came to an end.
I wished I could cross the bridge now. I was homesick and scared and I knew the other side to be far better than this side….