curious animal

“Quentin?” The voice startles me of my slight doze. We were settled in the garden, the indoor one though I know rather well we could be outside but inside was best for today for some reason, I’m not sure which. Yael’s gaze is outside and I try to follow it to pinpoint the source of his sudden curiosity.

“What is it?” I still can’t really see what he’s looking at. The yard is bright through the sunlight piercing the clouds. I see nothing amiss. I see beautiful trees, I see shade, I see nothing wrong.

“What is that?”

“What’s what?” I still can’t see whatever it is he’s asking about. He rolls his eyes and settles both his hands on my cheeks and turns my head just so. He releases me and points towards something. I blink and let my eyes focus. What a strange looking thing. I’ve never seen them before. What I can see of its next and chest are a deep sort of blue, slowly seeming to bleed into green. I guess what I mistook for a train are feathers, they’re longer than the bird on its own seem to be.

“I honestly have no idea.”

“Eoghan might know.”

“Yael, I’m not going to call Eoghan just to know more about a bird as it wanders through our yard, here, let me get up and get our books on birds.” He grumbles gently but he moves to let me get up. I slip from our seat and stretch before walking towards the door leading to the first floor and he follows closely. “Coming with me?”

“Well I want to see it from another angle, it’s so different from anything I’ve ever seen before.” His voice is thoughtful and I think I can sense a note of wonder. If this bird can bring back his inspiration I’m not going to complain. I miss seeing the happiness in his eyes when he draws.

“Just don’t go outside until we’re sure of what it is, all right?”

He nods and we part ways once down the stairs. I head towards his shelves to locate that one book we have of birds from all over the world. When we bought this bought, I think we figured that it would be easier to locate a bird in a world encyclopedia over one that surrounded just France or Europe.

I flip through the pages, minding where I steps while I head towards our guest room. It has the best view of the yard without us needing to head outside and I figure it’s where he’ll be waiting for me. I mind my steps as I have several kittens rumble and try to snag at my ankles as I walk past. We’ve taken the gate out of their room door since they were beginning to climb over it anyway. They’re growing up to be adorable little fluffballs, we still need to figure out names. I feel bad we haven’t yet.

Though I’ve been giving it a lot of thoughts and we do have a list of names we really like and we’ve been shortening it a little every day. My top names currently are Caelan and Coby. At first I thought we might try for all the same first letters but the names we’ve found weren’t very fitting. We’re still working at it.

“So what is it?”

I nearly run into the door frame as his words startle me briefly out of my search. I shake my head and shrug as I settle next to him and begin digging through the book again. “I’m sure I’ll find it. I was thinking about the names we have on that list for the kittens. We’re nearly down to five, aren’t we?”

He smiles and nods. I settle on a particular page in the book and then I look back out the window. “Found our visitor. We have ourselves a peacock.”

“A peacock.” He looks at me, disbelieving. I don’t know if it’s the bird’s name or just that we have one barely a few yards away from us. I show him the book and he looks it over a moment. I see something change in his eyes and I can feel hope begin to blossom somewhat in my chest.

“Those are beautiful, look at those feathers.” He breathes the words, almost as if he’s afraid that speaking too loudly will frighten the bird. All the windows are closed and the AC is running, I don’t imagine we’ll frighten our unexpected guest in any way. Still, what a strange bird. I mean I’ve never seen that kind of bird before, I’m not even sure if it should be here at all though the book states they’re normally easily enough found here in France. You learn something new every day.

“So you think we’re finally ready to name them?” He looks at me as we settle down in the cat’s room with their food, settling down bowls left and right, making sure Areli and Lavi eat their own food and not the kitten’s own. Soon they’ll all be eating the same thing though not quite yet.

“Well, we’ve gone long enough without naming them and I feel bad for not having names for them. I only have two names I really like for them and I know you have a few more, I figure we can throw it all into one big pot.” He nods and I reach out, barely daring to touch the head of the kitten eating at my feet. “And to me, honestly, they all look just a little different from one another so I know I can tell them apart.”

He reaches out, brushes Areli’s head with a chuckle. “Never thought we’d be parents, even of this kind of kid, did you?”

“Nope, never crossed my mind. So I vote for Caelan for this one and Coby for his brother.” I motion to the two cats in question, the two closest to me. He nods and looks them over. From his pocket he pulls out the well worn piece of paper on which we’d written those names down. I laugh softly as I realize he’s been constantly carrying it around.

“Okay, so let’s see.” He looks the list over slowly, moves his fingers along the lines and shakes his head at this one or that one. Then he points out to the kitten farthest from us. “You’ll be Astra. There’s a little star on your left hip.”

I smile but stay quiet. I left him the three kittens with the clearer star-shaped marks to name because I know most of his names are star-centred, he’s been on a star-gazing kick. He motions to the one next to Astra. “You’ll be Izar and last but not least, you’ll be Maris.”

He smiles, I smile and I chuckle. We finally have names for these little balls of energy. I think it’s a good step forward. I can stop feeling guilty for looking at them and going, in my mind, ‘this is kitten one, this is two and this is three’. I felt bad for that, really.

“Areli, Astra, Caelen, Coby, Izar, Lavi, and Maris. We have ourselves quite the family. To be honest, when I first came to live in Dunkerque, I thought I would be spending the rest of my life alone, just living a quiet little life with nothing ever happening to me. First I met back up with Eoghan though our friendship remained somewhat distant and then I found you, my muse, my everything. Now we have these seven hungry little bundles to help us along with our happiness. It feels so good.”

He smiles at me, it’s an absolutely dazzling sort of smile and hope swells in my chest again. I think the peacock really might have sparked his desire to try his hand at art once more. I don’t know which type of art he’ll try but I get the feeling he’ll try. I want him to be happy. I want him to feel fulfilled and he’s only ever really felt fulfilled, from what I’ve gathered from him, when he was drawing or creating with clay. I’ll do anything for him to reach that place again.



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