Chippy the First
By Charles Gargiulo
Where did Chippy go?
The little boy couldn’t understand. When he turned 4 years old last December, the best present he ever got was his pretty parakeet. He kept making noises like “chip, chip, chip,” so he named him Chippy. He didn’t have any brothers or sisters so sometimes he became really lonely when his Dad went to work and his Mom was busy. That is, until Chippy came into his life and became his new best friend. As soon as he’d wake up, he’d hop out of bed and go to Chippy’s cage, take off the towel he used to cover the cage at night so Chippy could sleep, and talk to his friend while watching him eat his seeds, play with his plastic toys, look curiously at himself in his mirror or just hang out with him on his swing or the long wooden perches that allowed him to walk from side to side in his cage.
His favorite thing to do was talk to Chippy because the little bird would always tilt his head and seemed to enjoy listening to the little boy talk to him. His Dad told him that if he kept repeating a couple of the same words, like saying his name “Chippy” or things like “pretty bird, pretty bird” over and over again, that Chippy might start saying those words himself. So everyday the little boy would keep saying those things over and over again until one day Chippy actually said his own name. The little boy was so happy. Soon Chippy not only said his name, but kept repeating it anytime the little boy said it. It didn’t take much longer until Chippy started saying “pretty boy, pretty boy” whenever the boy said it to him.
The little boy was so proud that Chippy could talk that he told his Mom and Dad and they said it showed how much Chippy loved him. He loved Chippy too. He would spend hours each day snuggling up to the cage and talking to Chippy about all kinds of things. Chippy didn’t answer him with words, but the little boy knew he understood him. In some ways, he felt it was even nicer that Chippy didn’t respond in words, but seemed happier just listening to him talk, because it sometimes felt like his Mom and Dad and the other grown ups in his life loved him but didn’t really think he was big enough yet to listen to the things he had to say. But Chippy did.
When the little boy was sad he always could tell that Chippy cared and he had a special way of showing it where he would make a soft side to side motion with his head like he was first listening to him with one ear and then the other. But when the little boy wanted to play, Chippy would proudly chirp and say “Chippy” and “pretty bird, pretty bird” and hop around his cage like the little boy did when he was so happy he couldn’t sit still.
Then one day the little boy’s Mom and Dad decided to move to another home. He didn’t like moving from his home and felt scared moving to a new place where he didn’t know anybody outside of his Mom, Dad and Chippy and didn’t even recognize anything. All the houses and streets were different and he was afraid he would get lost if he ever went outside by himself. His Mom and Dad made him feel better by telling him everyone felt that way at first but that he would meet new friends and neighbors and would like the new place once he got used to it.
But they were wrong. The new place was a bad place, a dangerous place and it took away his best friend. When his Dad was carrying Chippy from the truck to the new place he tripped and dropped Chippy’s cage and the bottom fell out and Chippy flew away up into a tree next to the new house. The little boy could see him way up near the top and kept yelling for Chippy to come back but he just stayed there. He tried saying “Chippy” and “pretty boy, pretty boy” but he wouldn’t answer him and still didn’t come. The little boy started crying and begging him to come down but he didn’t, so his Dad started to climb the big tree real slow while talking quietly to Chippy as he got closer and closer to him. He put his finger out softly towards Chippy hoping that he would hop on it and he could bring him back to his cage, but Chippy flew away instead, and he kept flying and flying until they couldn’t see him anymore. The little boy’s Dad took his car all around the place looking for Chippy but he never found him. The little boy keeps looking for him every time his Mom takes him for a walk but they never see him.
And the little boy still talks to his cage everyday hoping Chippy might hear him.