A man in town sold pet health insurance and she was beginning to make her plans. She wanted her son to have her little white dog and knew he would need money to take care of her. He was not old enough to pay these expenses on his own. And a parrot was out of the question at this point. They could live to be 100 or more and she would be dead at 46. She felt it, no matter what people said, no matter how much they told her to have a positive mindset. Buying a parrot now was an act of faith bordering on the ridiculous.
Every morning the parrot chirped from the third floor balcony down the street where she walked her dog. The bird was a part of how the real estate company was staging the property, he was part of their plan to sell the new orange painted homes. Not far away, a woman was mauled by a black bear as she walked her dog. The cancer was about the same thing. What difference did it make, she would be gone, taken by something - whether it emerged from the forest - a madman or bear - or a malignancy in her body that grew until she succumbed. She hoped, at least, in the case of the woman confronting the bear, the dog managed to get away.
Which was why she sat across from the desk of the pet insurance agent. She signed every paper. She paid. She set up a plan for payments. The agent had no ring. She asked him to lunch. They ate nicoise salad in a restaurant where unlit chandeliers and stained glass panels hung from the ceiling. He said he had old movies on reels at home they could watch. He said they could dance to music on his jukebox.
A shaft of light poured in through the basement window where they were dancing. She was not expecting this. She considered asking him to draw up a separate policy for a parrot. The agent had nice leather shoes, smelled of bergamot oil, had a curl against his ear.
Meg Sefton lives in central Florida with her son and little white dog "Annie" a Coton de Toulear. She blogs irregularly at Within a Forest Dark and also appears on-line under her Scandinavian pseudonyms Gry Corvin and Quenby Larsen.