|His Best Girls
Author: Cruelest Sea PM
A moment with Artemus and the "girls".Rated: Fiction K - English - Drama/Friendship - Words: 413 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 2 - Published: 08-15-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7288755
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His Best Girls
"I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn." - Henry David Thoreau
There are times when he goes to the back to be alone, to think, and perhaps get away - if someone can "get away" inside a train car - from all the pressures of their daily lives.
Today is one of those days, a moment when he needs time to himself. But he's not truly alone.
He enters the room with a greeting, the quiet cooing answering the sound of his voice. They know it and take comfort in it. He opens the cages and watches the birds hop down, explore the narrow confines of the room and finally come to his level.
He sits on the floor and calls them to him, one at a time.
It was his idea to give them names and he's learned them the way a mother learns to tell twins apart. He feeds them and gives them water, speaks to them as he would a child.
He's learned over the years that few people care about birds, especially pigeons like these. But he cares.
Henrietta lands next to him and he runs a light hand over her feathers as she struts away, head bobbing as she spies a leftover crumb in her cage. Arabella crawls up on his leg, giving a light tap to his arm to get his attention. He cups his hands and she flutters into them, cooing softly as he lifts her against his chest.
He strokes her gently and she turns her face against his, beak to his cheek, offering comfort and understanding in the beautiful and selfless way only an animal can give it.
His heart swells with a strange sort of joy, the kind he only finds in the quiet with them and their sort of music soothing his heart.
With them he doesn't have to wear a disguise or a mask. He doesn't have to speak wise words or save the day. He can be himself and they don't care. He can make mistakes and they will still crawl up on his shoulder. In many ways he's never quite found friends like them.
And if no one else understands, well, it really doesn't matter.