“Every time we meet, I find you in the strangest of predicaments,” said George, his nose sniffing X’s feathers as if they were coated in the most alluring of perfumes. Looking over her shoulder, he spotted little Herbie sprawled out on his belly twitching his nose in his sleep. Smiling to himself, the cat eyed her up as she absent-mindedly pecked the ground with her beak not knowing where to start.
“Where have you been all these years, George? I missed you ever so much.”
“I know, I know, but much like you, I found myself drawn to another way of life. To another way of being that left me far from any road.”
“But what didn’t you say goodbye? One day you were there, and then you were gone.”
Bringing his paw up to her head, he gently caressed her as she leant into him.
“I’m sorry I left so abruptly, but I felt a calling that couldn’t be denied, and just how was I supposed to let you know? I could hardly have left a note.”
“You could’ve tried,” she said, and although she wore a beak and not the face of the girl he once recognised, he could picture that familiar grin of hers, and although she was different, she was somehow the same—on the inside at least.
“It would’ve been very crude. Not even the squirrels and your fellow magpies could’ve helped me with that one I fear.”
“I guess not.”
Shielding her and the sleeping hamster from the crunching and crashing roots of a passing tree, George watched as the animals clinging to its branches looked down upon them. They gave him only the merest of glances, yet their eyes lingered on her as if they were trying to place a familiar face. Some of them knew she was the source of the music, while others only had an inkling, but either way, each creature that caught a glimpse of her knew she was the one that had summoned the dance.
“I always wondered how long it would take you to find your way here,” said George.
“You mean to say you knew this was going to happen?”
“Yes and no” he purred. “After what occurred in that bathroom of yours, you were no longer broken, and yet you were far from whole. It was clear to me that you still had a long way to go, not only in finding yourself but in understanding the nature of the love you carried inside. I dare say that even after I left your side, you went through life at arm’s length, afraid of getting hurt and afraid of feeling the way you felt before. I’m curious though. Just what was it that led you here? Tell me, my dear Prudence, what brought upon this change after so long?”