Bob stares at me. I stare at him. No words need to be exchanged. I know what he wants. Every day he does this. If he wasn’t so adorable, these awkward stares might be annoying. But he can wait. He has no choice. I am eating a plate of pancakes covered in syrup. I mean, not an entire stack of six huge pancakes, the kind of pile you might see at some dinner. No. Just three normal-sized ones. I am a girl after all, not a lumber jack.
I sit savoring my breakfast, looking out over the lawn that needs mowed and the mailbox that is leaning to the right a bit too much. Bob never cares though. Nor is he much help. He is still staring at me. I smile back, “Oh you poor deprived thing. Do you think we should call the animal abuse hotline for you?” He doesn’t think my joke is funny. He just sits, and stares with his big, sad eyes that remind me of Sam. I sigh.
As I sip my coffee, a bluejay lands on the deck railing. It just stares at me too. Odd. Very odd. But in an strange way, it brings me comfort. Bluejays were Sam’s favorite bird. The bird moves around the railing, and gets Bob’s attention. Bob turns to stare at it. He quickly realizes the bird has no food and loses interest. He stares at me again. I giggle and throw him a treat, which he practically inhales. “OK. OK. We can go in a second. Clearly, you don’t care about our little company here. I am sorry Mr. Bluejay, Bob has a one track mind. And right now, it’s time for our walk to the barn.” The bird stops walking around and stares at me, tilting its head back and forth – kind of like it’s actually listening to me. Weird.
I look down at the tattoo on the inside of my wrist. Two hearts connected by an weaving vine. Intertwined forever. Over the hearts, flies a bird. Sam said the bird was symbolic for protection, like a guardian of our love. He drew the beautiful design and came up with the story. So when he died last year, I took his drawing into the best tattoo artist and he put it to ink. I run my fingers along it. Tracing it. A tear runs down my check. “Damn it Sam! I can’t do this without you!” As I look at the ink bird, I realize, it’s a bluejay. Instantly I look up at the real bluejay that is still standing on the deck, chirping now, looking at me. Bob is looking at the bird too. “No. It can’t be,” I whisper. But as I go to stand, the bluejay takes flight. He circles around the deck. Bob and I stare at it circle. Suddenly, it lands right in front of Bob and stares at him. It chirps and chirps. Bob stares back and barks gently to the bird. Then he flies away.
With tears running down my face I cry out, “Sam? Is that you? Sam!” Bob nudges my leg and looks up at me with those sad eyes. I bend down and climbs up my legs to lick my tears from my cheek. “Awe-thank you buddy. Thank you. It looks like we have our own little guardian bird. He will be back…Oh please let him come back.”