We wrote this story together yesterday. It is not finished, and this is a very rough draft, but I'm posting what we have written so far anyway, because the theme is appropriate for the holiday.
Today we honor and remember Martin Luther King, Jr. This story is dedicated to Dr. King.
The Robin and the Blue Jay
Our story takes place in a garden outside a house that sits on a hill, halfway up a mountain, where two birds live. Their lives are quite full with pecking seeds from the ground, and hopping around in the branches of a cotoneaster bush eating berries. These kinds of berries, especially when overly ripe, have a tendency to make birds think themselves very witty and lose their inhibitions.
One of these birds was a robin red breast. Her tireless searching for bugs and worms kept her very busy, although she did wish for a couple things that she felt were missing in her life, a mate and a proper nest to call home. The other bird was a loud, boisterous blue jay, who also happened to be a jazz musician. He spent most of his days harassing other birds and trying to raid their nests for tasty little eggs. He often stayed out late jamming and playing improv on his clarinet. He never let on that he noticed the robin much, but he did murmur a few lascivious comments to her now and then that she couldn't be quite sure she heard.
Over time, although they lived very separate lives, the robin and the blue jay began to grow fond of each other. As it turned out, she had a dry wit that came as a result of her proper English upbringing. Although they were both birds, they couldn’t have been more different.
One balmy summer afternoon, when the cotoneaster berries were well-ripened, the two odd birds found themselves together on a branch. They were a little tipsy, so without thinking too much about, they leaned against each other for balance. The blue jay ogled, “Wow, the redness of your breast looks great with my blue wings.” To which the robin replied, “Well, your blue makes my red look even better.” An unlikely romance was born. They began courting.
The other birds were aghast.
The blue jay’s homies said, “You shouldn’t be wit’ her. She not yo’ people!”
The robin’s friends took her aside, and over tea, pleaded with her to find a suitable mate among the robin community, and made several suggestions.
“Blue jays are egg-stealers,” they warned. “Stay away from that guy. What could you two possibly have in common? What will the neighbors think?”
But the more time they spent together, the more fun they had. They found it was really exciting to be with someone completely different than you. They each shared new experiences that others in their species knew nothing about. He played her songs from his repertoire, and showed her his etchings. He had a rather loud and scratchy voice, but they discovered when they harmonized together it created a beautiful sound, like the wolves howling in the wind.
One morning he brought her a worm. Even though she wasn’t quite hungry yet, she ate it from his beak. Love blossomed. They were soon bickering about which tree to build a nest in.
He suggested building it right there in the cotoneaster bush, claiming that it would be romantic because it was where they first met. She protested, pointing out that it would be better to raise a family in the suburbs, away from all the night clubs. She wanted it in an oak tree, strong and safe from the weather and the other birds.
“Aw, come on hon,” he pleaded, “It would be fun, and all the berries would be right there whenever we wanted them.”
“Oh dear,” she said, “I think it would be too noisy with the other birds partying. And we don’t want our children to eat those, do we? At least until they’re grown.”
They finally settled on a nearby oak tree.
They lived in happy bubble of fun and romance, although they did feel ostracized from their respective bird brethren. They had each other though, and felt satisfied with their lives.
One day the blue jay looked down in their nest, and was amazed to see a light blue and bright red, spotted egg under his wife. He had never seen an egg that was so beautifully colored before, and he had devoured many.
His wife saw him eyeing the egg, and puffed up her breast angrily.
“This is OUR egg, and I’m warming it. You behave. Go find us some worms and bugs so I can stay here on our egg and keep it safe from YOUR KIND. There are lots of other things to eat without having to eat PEOPLE'S BABIES.”
“Ooookaaaay,” he whined, and it made him think. He flew off to find some food…that wasn’t eggs.
He wasn’t as good as her at catching bugs, and digging up worms was a hassle. You had to get your beak dirty, and wake up early, which was hard after a night out playing on the cotoneaster circuit. But he was still pretty young and was able to learn, for her sake.
At first, the other blue jays mocked him. “You sissy,” they chided. Nonetheless, his love for his wife overcame their jealous taunts, and he continued to provide for his clan in the manner his wife insisted upon.
One day, when he returned to their nest laden with bugs and worms, he noticed his wife was sitting a little higher than she had been before.
“Wife, have you been plumping up the nest to keep it warm?” he asked.
“You could call it that,” and delicately lifted her fluffy rump wings to display another egg—that looked to him every bit as delicious as the first.
He presented the bugs and worms to her, and she was delighted. She settled back down on the eggs, ate his offerings, and nuzzled him on the cheek. She thought to herself, “Maybe he’s different…”
to be continued…