I'll Be Back
Not too long ago a minor miracle occurred in my life... one that caused me to pause and remember the importance of family and friends. Even those members of family that we commonly consider to be pets. During a recent trip south I had asked a friend to house sit my Casa. She also cared for my dog, Maya, and my bird Diego, a half-moon conure that I've had for nearly 4 years. During the trip I received an occasional report that all was well. I knew they were in good hands.
The day I returned to San Pancho, I walked through the front door and immediately sensed something was amiss. I walked the Casa, noticing the doors were open... not unusual during the day. But no one seemed to be home, and Diego, his cage and his perch were also missing. My mind raced as I envisioned the worse case scenario. Eventually I saw my house sitter in the hammock catching a mid-afternoon siesta. Hesitantly, I woke her to announce my return. But more importantly, to ask about the whereabouts of Diego. She confirmed my worse fears.
Two days before my return home, Diego had flown out the open back door of the Casa. It was not his first taste of freedom, as he had escaped the confines of the Casa the year before. We were fortunate to have found him shortly after his departure. But this time it was different - Diego had not returned for over 48 hours. He was on his own, and most likely roaming the jungle canopy looking for his favorite hammock in his cage.
My heart sank as I realized we would no longer share breakfasts together at the table. No more Diego flying around the Casa to stretch his wings... no more Diego perched on my shoulders and nudging my cheek for attention. I was truly going to miss his morning chatter and his screeching phrases of “diego-diego” and “big diego”... or his “big kiss” call with a quick swipe of his head as if to throw a kiss.
But I was really going to miss his favorite phrase: “I'LL BE BACK”. It was the phrase we commonly said as we left the Casa through the front door. Eventually he had picked it up on his own, and he began spouting it at random. I would respond back with “WHERE YOU GOING?”... sometimes half expecting a response from him.
I immediately roamed the beach along the edge of the jungle, whistled and called in hopes he'd be nearby. The sun sank lower in the sky as the day progressed. My hopes were fading as was the light of day. In time I was done. I gave up trying to call him or whistle. It seemed useless... the hotel residents next door were beginning to frown at me.
Eventually, with one last call of his name, I heard a faint but familiar “diego-diego” up the hill and in the jungle. I called back, and once again I heard a faint echo of the phrase. Diego was hearing me! I raced up the hill, continually whistling and calling his favorite phrases. The canopy was thick with the green of jungle foliage. Somewhere he was up there, calling back. I continued calling, and managed to narrow his location down to a single tree. With repeated calls and whistles Diego slowly descended the branches and limbs of the tree. I saw him 30 feet above my head, looking down on me in hesitation. It was Diego for sure. What I needed was a mango!
As I wheeled around to race back to the Casa, I heard Diego call again, almost frantically, as if to prevent me from leaving. Luckily my fridge had a few mangos. I grabbed one, and raced back into the jungle hoping for a miracle, peeling the fruit as I ran. It never occurred to me the mess I was creating as the juices rolled down my arms. As I approached the clearing where I first spotted Diego, I called his name in desperation. Diego responded, and within minutes he swooped down upon my shoulder, and eagerly pounced the open fruit. He was undoubtedly hungry and thirsty. I suspect he was as grateful as I for the reunion. He was coming home.
Diego was back... JUST AS HE SAID HE WOULD!
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