March 15, 2014 – Mom and the family were headed out for the day, but I had a burning question to ask her before she left the house… Where do we keep the extra loofah sponges? The door was open, so I let myself in. Mom was scrambling to grab what she needed before catching up with the rest of the crew already in the car. She opened the coat closet and started pawing through the pile on the floor for a pair of shoes. I hopped inside hoping to face her head on and present my query. The dogs were barking, the parakeets were singing, and Mom was so distracted that she neither saw nor heard me. A second later, she’s grabbing a pair of slip-ons and slamming shut the closet door with yours truly left inside. In the dark. Alone. I heard her say, “Be good while I’m gone!”and the front door closed with a decisive thud.
Instantly, the house fell silent. I tried to reach the closet handle, but wings are not hands and I couldn’t get a strong grasp on the slippery doorknob to give it a turn. The dogs must have fallen into a coma, I thought – for none of them heard my calls for help. In the narrow crack of light visible under the door, a cat paw made a grand sweep nearly missing my feet. Sugar Plum… my feline nemesis. I dared not alert her to the fact that I was in a pickle, for I do believe she would have eaten me like one. With no cellphone, no window, and no way to reach my flockmates, I was AWOL from the chicken yard. My only hope was that Sawyer would notice my absence and send out a search party.
In the meantime, I amused myself by picking up items in the dark and guessing what they were. The shoes and slippers were easy. They had a particular shape and they smelled like Wilma. I shook a couple of boxes but could not identify the contents. I tried on hats and mittens and rummaged through jacket pockets. I came up with a package of gum and something sticky that clung to my wing until a good flick sent it flying upwards where it landed in my eye.
It was stuffy in the closet. I started to wonder if I would run out of oxygen. Doing so caused me to hyperventilate. I inhaled into the arm of a long, woolen coat until my breathing regulated. I was exhausted. I tried to find a spot in which to recline, but the space was crowded and uncomfortable. Something jabbed me in the back. By the curve of the handle, I realized it was an umbrella. I went to toss it toward the back, when my wing hit the button on the stem, and the sunshade sprang to life! It inhaled the closet, slamming me against the door hard enough to pop it open. I was free; delivered upside down to the boot tray not far from the closet entrance.
A good shake and a few blinks against the glare of sunlight streaming through the living room window and I was good as new. I peered out at our chicken run and saw my friends scratching and pecking at the ground, completely oblivious to the fact that I, their beloved mate, was not among them. I made a decision then and there. I grabbed a bowl of blueberries from the fridge and headed to Mom’s bedroom. A quick fluff of the pillows, a swift flick of the TV remote, and I was in heaven!
Mom woke me up when she got home. She didn’t appear at all shocked that I was wrapped in her bathrobe, snoozing in her bed, my face smeared in blueberry juice. I think after all these years, Mom is finally used to me.