This piece is part of our collection of Prompted to Tell writings that come out of Juiceboxartists writing workshops. This piece is contributed by Elizabeth Taylor-Mead. The prompt was the photo.
Last Saturday Sabrina Sparrow told her husband he had two choices: he could either fly over to Fresh Pond to get the dry cleaning, stand in line at the post office, and do the weekly shopping — although he wasn’t to improvise. She would send him with a shopping list, not a jazz score — or he could stay in the nest and look after the kids.
She knew how hopeless he was at multitasking and how much he hated waiting in line — typical male!
So, of course, he chose to stay and keep the eggs warm and nudge the older kids off their branch. Not that he wouldn’t get distracted from sitting on the eggs and wander off from time to time to shoot the breeze with the Ivy League cardinal who only lived in the neighborhood sporadically. But Sabrina felt confident that her mate would not be so irresponsible as to actually leave their offspring at risk of eggnapping by those vile, nasty-baked, beady-eyed swooping predator gangs.
Grabbing a quick worm to fortify herself for the morning’s errands, she slurped it down and flew off.
The post office wasn’t all that bad for a Saturday morning. Sure, there were half a dozen local birds ahead of her, hovering in formation to drop their fresh wet loads on the head of the seated statue outside the building but she didn’t have to wait too long to do her business.
Next, the dry cleaning. Now she was in luck there too, because the big vent on the exterior wall of the Joy Luck Clubhouse, the best dim sum place in town, was working at full power, blasting out so much hot air that it took no time at all to get all her feathers dusted and fluffed.
Off she flew to Whole Foods. But Oy Vey, she thought, seeing how many birds were already picking over all the best stuff. There was barely a crumb left in the parking lot. Steeling herself for the fray, determined her family would not go without, she sidled up to a nice -looking sliver of cheese — she couldn’t tell if it was plant-based or not, but what the hell — when suddenly, swoosh! Sabrina was side-swiped and the morsel snatched. “It’s that goddamned entitled and pilate-ed Pamela Pigeon from the big maple up on Oak St.” she clucked to herself. This was going to be a lot less fun than she anticipated. But at least it got her out of the house for a little while.
When she gathered up what she could from the remaining scraps, she saw that there were still a few perching positions left on the pushed together shopping carts and decided to catch up on a little local gossip. As she flew close enough to find a spot, she saw that a couple of gals from her book group were there. She felt a little guilty she hadn’t yet finished the book for their next meeting. She did start it , but she found Jerzy Kosinsky’s The Painted Bird such a downer and felt that in these stressful times she needed lighter, more upbeat reading matter. She mentioned her reluctance to Rhonda Robin and Golda Goldfinch but they told her to get over it and just appreciate the literary craft. Though the book group called itself ‘Flock Together’, Sabrina, chastened, thought “maybe not so much” and made a mental note to try Duolingo instead.