I watched everyone who came into the pet shop the next morning, waiting, hoping. From what Sam had told me, I was going to a pretty good home. Patience, I kept telling myself. He’ll come when she gets here. He’ll point her out to me.
“What’s with you?” my cagemate asked.
“You perk up every time somebody comes through that door,” she said. “You act like you want somebody to take you.”
“I do,” I said.
I told her about Sam’s visit. “Did he know what’s going to happen to me?” she asked, hopeful.
“I’m sorry, no,” I said.
She hung her head.
“I know you’re going to get a good home, too,” I said, trying to make her feel better.
“You can’t know that for sure,” she said.
“Hey, maybe my adopted mom will take you, too,” I suggested.
That was the first time she seemed at all hopeful. “Do you think so?” she asked.
“It’s possible. She has a soft spot for birds, and it’s just the two of us, so….”
“I hope you’re right. I’d really be scared here without you,” she confessed.
“There she is,” Sam whispered.
I looked toward the door. There were two women coming into the store.
“Which one?” I asked.
“The smaller one.” He paused. “She’s not as small as she used to be. Must be all that eating out.”
“What should I do?” I asked.
“Nothing, yet,” he said. “She’ll come to you.”
I looked at him, hoping he knew what he was talking about. “You haven’t seen her in eleven years. How can you be so sure?”
He was mildly indignant. “First of all, I’ve seen her every day. She hasn’t seen me. Big difference,” he said. “And second, she’s here to buy a bird for her dad—a big red conure.”
“Was sold two days ago. I know,” Sam said. “But she won’t leave right away. She loves animals. So does her mom there. They’ll look around. When they come back here, make nice.”
“Act friendly. Go to her. Treat her like an old friend,” he advised. “She’ll think you’re me.”
I was surprised by that. “Whaaaaaatt?”
“She knows there’s a life after the one you have now. She’ll see you and think you’re me, back from this side.”
“She won’t love me for me?” That worried me.
“Of course she will. But you have to get her to take you home with her. Don’t let pride get in the way of that, dummy.”
He was right. I watched and waited. As she came closer, I stepped up boldly while my roomie cowered at the rear. “Hi, there,” the human said, smiling. She bent down to get a closer look at me. “Aren’t you cute?”
“Of course I am. Take me home with you!”
She turned to the woman with her. “Mom, look—he looks like Sam!”
The other woman came closer, too. “He does,” she agreed.
“Since I can’t get Dad’s bird, maybe I’ll buy him,” she said.
“Maybe?” I asked.
“Patience,” Sam whispered.
“You’d need a cage,” her mother was saying.
“I can get that here—or across the street at Woolworths,” she said. She stopped for a minute. “Remember?”
Her mom nodded. She looked a little worried. When they both walked away, it was my turn to be worried. “It’s okay,” Sam assured me. “She just has to buy a cage. She’ll be back.”