The story of a lost pigeon named Lew continues...
Welcome back for the newest part in Lew’s series — the series of a lost pigeon in the Big Apple.
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Francois in his new box was taken away from the windowsill. The humans switched off the lights inside their home and then one of them returned to the window where we were all still lingering. The human looked apologetic as they took away the greasy box we had brought along and then very gently lowered the window to a close.
There was a strange dizzy feeling among Joan and Ruby and me as we remained by the now closed window. The world continued on around us. The cars continued to shuffle and honk, the breeze continued to flow by. We were missing our key piece. Francois was how we all knew each other. He was the one that had brought us all together. He was the one who always knew what to do next.
As we stood on the windowsill, I felt a droplet of rain hit my feathers. I looked up and, without us noticing, the sky had turned dark with storm clouds. More droplets
“What happens now?” I asked.
I still felt like a kid among adults, always out of the loop and full of questions, always begging for answers, depending on others to guide me.
Scrambling. Clueless. Lost.
“I think we could use some rest,” said Joan.
“How about the cinema roof?” I suggested.
“Howell and Mac know about the cinema roof,” said Ruby, then avoiding eye contact. “I already told them about it.”
“I usually stay in Central Park with the others from Mac’s group,” said Joan. “No going back there…”
“I have somewhere we can go,” said Ruby.
We followed Ruby as she led the way across town. The rain was light. Thankfully, Ruby’s spot wasn’t too far away.
We were gliding above the city when Ruby looked back briefly and nodded. It was time to descend.
We followed her down through the air towards a little opening in between a cluster of tall brick buildings. It was a little courtyard made for humans, although there wasn’t anyone around at the time.
At the back of the courtyard, there was a glass greenhouse which Ruby guided us towards. The greenhouse only took up a small part of the courtyard.
Joan and I waited in the air for a moment as Ruby pushed open a particular window on the side of the otherwise sealed greenhouse.
The window open, she slipped inside and we then followed.
So this was Ruby’s little sanctuary from the city.
It was like a whole different world — a mini jungle packed with plants and flowers. The air inside the greenhouse was dense and hot, unlike anywhere else in the city. It also seemed to be the only quiet spot in the whole bustling place. The grumble and honk of the cars finally fell away. Peace and quiet.
It was a beautiful break from the foul stink of car smoke that was the mark of all human cities. Instead, the greenhouse was dominated by the smell of flowers and soil and sap.
Ruby flew straight to the lone tree in the enclosure. We gathered together on one of the branches.
“Take a branch and rest for a bit,” said Ruby. “Then we’ll eat.”
Some quiet rest sounded good to me. I found myself a branch on the tree and walked along it. A mountain of buildings wrapped around the greenhouse. It was as if we were down in the bottom of an enormous hole in the ground.
Outside, the rain continued.
I thought about Francois and imagined where he was right now -- probably in a bright human room like that one that Ruby had taken me to, full of other hurt animals, trapped. Although I didn’t imagine that Francois would join in on any of the singing. He’d be caged and scared. That last look on his face as the humans closed the lid of his box was stuck in my head. So full of earnest fear.
I had heard stories from birds who had been looked after by humans before. The humans would use their medicine to put you to sleep and then they would fix whatever it was that was wrong with you. Eventually, you’d wake up in a cage and be left on your own to heal. They would feed you too. For some birds, it really wasn’t that bad of a time. I knew that wouldn’t be the case for Francois though. He’d hate it. He was someone who needed fresh air and space to fly.
I just wished I could know that he was definitely ok.
I had thought that I was actually starting to get a good hold of the city. I thought that I was getting the swing of my new life. Alone on that branch in Ruby’s greenhouse, I was starting to realise just how much I had depended on Francois. Everything felt off with him gone. Any comfort I had disappeared. It now dawned on me that he had been holding my hand the entire time.
I rested on my chosen branch and watched the rain as it hit the glass of the greenhouse. I wasn’t going to fall asleep. I didn’t even try.
Eventually, Ruby announced that it was time to eat.
It was hard to tell what time of day it was. The world was dark and gloomy. The rhythmic rain had engulfed the city.
We all gathered together and ate the generous feast of bread and bird seeds that Ruby had prepared. It was clear that Ruby ate and lived extremely well in the little locked away glass oasis that was her greenhouse — her kingdom made for one.
We ate our feast and then we sat around in silence.
“It’s been a big day,” said Joan finally, breaking the quiet. “Let’s rest up. Tomorrow’s a new day.”
Thanks for reading and, as always, have a wonderful week!