Every day was the same for us, my brother and I. We are African Grey Parrots and although not official with the humans, I addressed my brother as Basil and he addressed me as Jemima.
Our daily routine consisted of sitting in our bare cage for the majority of the time, picking at our disgustingly bland seed mix and taking minimal sips of dirty water. This had been our routine day in day out since we arrived at the pet shop, which seems like an eternity.
The pet shop owner, who's name we never learned, was very indifferent to us. It seemed his only agenda was making money, sure enough he gave us food and water, but he never showed us any love or affection in the slightest. He was a tall man of stout build. He would often reach into our cage and try to grab us, we would do our best to escape his clutch, flapping and squawking, not out of disobedience, but sheer terror.
When he did catch us, we would be thrust towards customers who would study us like a museum exhibition. They would then apologise to the shop owner and he would roughly grab us and toss us back in the filthy cage.
It felt like life would never get any better for us as this happened over and over again, until one day a lady who looked around the age of 30 walked in. She glanced over in our direction. Our fixed gaze assured me this time it would be different. She approached the desk and spoke in a soft voice.
"Hello, I am thinking about acquiring an African Grey Parrot-"
"I've got some I could show you" he interrupted.
"Oh yes I see, but wouldn't you like to ask me some questions about myself and my lifestyle to see if I would be a suitable Parrot owner for your Parrots?" she questioned.
"No, don't worry about it love “he said as he walked towards our cage.
The lady followed. She was quite a small woman with fiery red hairy that bounced on her shoulders in loose curls.
We did our best to appeal to her as this is the type of person we have been waiting for. This time when he put his hand in to get us I obediently stepped up onto his hand.
"Hello “the lady said to me.
"My names Opal" she glanced over at the shop keeper who was rolling his eyes at her as if he thought he was crazy. As her hand approached me, I willingly bowed my head to her to give permission for a stroke and puffed my feathers out. For the first time in my life, I felt I would be able to trust someone. Opal was perfect. I could tell she was kind through her body language, she was soft but not hesitant , her voice was soothing like a lullaby .
"I'll have her" Opal declared.
My heart could of burst with happiness. We were finally going to have the life we deserved.
I was put into a box where I was waiting for Basil to be put in too when the top of the box was forced shut. I was suddenly plunged into darkness. I heard muffled voices but could not quite understand what it was they were saying. I desperately called out for Basil and he called out for me. I persisted until I could no longer hear my brothers call.
After being in the box for what seemed a very long time and I had heard very frightening and unusual noises like shouting and this strange repetitive noise that I used to hear in the pet shop when people held mobile phones near me and said "cheese!".
We finally arrived at what I assumed to be my new home.
The top of the box slowly opened and I was greeted by Opal.
"Hello sweetie, I'm sorry about all that nonsense outside, now the paparazzi found out my new address they won't leave me alone!"she said as she towered over the box.
'What does paparazzi mean and what do they want from Opal?'I thought to myself.
Opal then picked the box up and placed it into an enormous cage. I was so scared I just stood in the box until I was brave enough to venture out- which seemed a long time.
When I did come out I immediately saw another Parrot which looked exactly like Basil. I called out to Basil and I was so happy he was here too! However I soon became down hearted when he did not call back to me. This was not Basil.
Everything here was different. The smell was different- not like the horrible smell I was used too, everything looked strange- there were shiny looking statues on the side sitting next to photographs of Opal holding the statues in a very glamorous dress surrounded by a sea of people.
I was absorbing my surroundings when Opal walked in on the phone.
"They know my address...."I could tell she was frustrated, yet she still had a soft tone to her voice. There was a silenced gap when she was listening.
“The paparazzi...the paparazzi know my new address! What are we going to do?"
Silence filled the room again.
"Ok........ok thanks bye “she put the phone down with a sigh. Opal looked over at me.
"What are we going do, eh?"She looked at me and I could tell she was thinking hard about something.
"We'll call you....Pandora"
My life hasn't been the same since that day. Of course I never saw my brother Basil again, but there's not a day that goes past where I don't think about him. My life is great now, I learned that my owner Opal is what the humans call famous. This is where they are very well known for a talent.
Opal is a famous opera singer. And as for the other Parrot, her names Delilah. We are best of friends and are inseparable! Opal takes Delilah and I to all the major events and award ceremonies.
Delilah and I practice everyday making the beautiful sounds our owner Opal projects and also hope to be opera singers one day!