“You got this, man. You got this. She would be lucky to have you. Just walk up to her and tell her how pretty she is. No! Ask her how she got here. No! That might bring up some bad memories. Stay positive. Tell her she’s pretty. That’s always a good start. Now let’s check you out.”
Pierre swiveled back and forth, cocking his head to the left and to the right.
He whistled approvingly. “Looking good. Looking good. No visible damage from that little scuffle with the cat. Hopefully she didn’t see that. I’m sure she didn’t. Pretty girl like that has other things on her mind. She didn’t see it. All she sees is this beautiful specimen before her. You ready, man? Yeah, you’re ready. Look at you. How could you not be ready? What do you have to be afraid of? You’re literally the only guy in here. Just go over and start talking to her, man, that’s all you have to do. Nothing could be easier. It’s just you. And her. You’re golden, man. Go get her!”
Pierre strutted back and forth in front of his mirror a few more times, puffed himself up, and made his way over.
Marguerite was sitting in front of her own mirror with her back to Pierre.
Marguerite did not turn around.
“Hey, baby. What’s a bird like you doing in a place like this?”
Marguerite still did not turn around.
“Come here often?”
She turned her neck around to look at him, while keeping her back to him. She blinked once, then turned back to her mirror.
“I know, it’s a total drag, right?”
“It’s not so bad. They give me treats.” She indicated the stick of seed and honey hanging from the roof of her cage.
All right! She was talking to him!
“No way! That’s awesome! I’m sure my treats will be coming any minute now. It’s probably a seniority thing, right? How long have you been here?”
“I don’t know. A few days, I guess.”
“Nice. I just got here.”
“Yes. I know.”
Damn. She had seen that debacle. He had to recover. “Yeah, that was epic, right? I like to tease cats sometimes. They think they’re so stealthy, but I’m too fast for them, see? Can’t touch this.”
Marguerite didn’t respond. Just continued preening in front of her mirror.
“All right, well, it was nice meeting you, but I should probably get going. Settle in. New place. Lots to do. You know how it goes.” Pierre turned back to his cage to the sound of silence from the other cage.
He went back to his mirror. “OK, what did you do wrong? Is that a spot? Are your feathers dirty? Oh, man, rookie mistake! How could you have missed that?” He started furiously cleaning his feathers. When he was done, he cleaned them again. Then he cleaned them a third time, just to be sure.
When he turned back to the mirror, he was all confidence again. “All right, you got this, man, you got this. Ain’t no bird alive looks as good as you. You know it. She knows it. She’s just playing hard to get. That’s all right. We can play. She wants us to prove our worth? We can do that. We just have to think of a better line next time, that’s all. Easy peasy.”