by Betty Adams
It was vexing was what it was. Roxy tossed the last bale of hay out of the back of the pickup truck and huffed in annoyance. Not at the glossy black bird that circled the battered red farm rig. No, there was no reason at all to be irritated with the animal. There was no way it was doing it on purpose.
Roxy winced as the raven call out her sister's name eagerly. No, she was irritated at herself. Everyone was being so annoyingly nice about it all. When they had first found the injured corvid she had been the one to pick it out of the thick mud of the drainage ditch. The raven had been soaked to the skin and wasn't even shivering. She had tucked it under her coat and hiked the quarter mile back to the barn. Her mother had done volunteer work on some long distant gulf oil spill and had expertly cleaned the raven. Cam and Roxy had placed the too-still bird in a warm, dry box on the porch and had carefully fed it formula for days. It had perked up and decided that the service at the place was top notch so why leave?
"Home!" the bird called out circling Roxy in tight spirals, pulling her out of her memories.
"Yes, go on home Rainbow." She waved in the direction of the house where she knew her sister was getting ready to leave for the day, leaving the house empty.
They had all been shocked when the raven had spoken for the first time. Their mom had examined his beak and discovered a slit in his tongue; a small surgery that allowed the bird nearly the vocal range of a parrot. He clearly knew many words when he arrived and seemed to be constantly learning more. The first words he had learned were the family names.
"Except for mine," Roxy muttered as she climbed into the cab and started the engine.
The truck surged to life with a satisfying roar and began rolling towards the horse barn. Roxy estimated that it would take her another hour or two to finish the chores for the day. Then she had homework waiting at the house. She tried to focus on that but her mind kept wandering back to the glossy black bird. He made sure to greet each of her family members by name in the morning and was there when they left the farm. While he was always friendly to her, he would give her a head bump every morning and was there whenever she left, the raven had yet to say her name.
She was still musing over that when something to the south caught her eye.
"Not again!" she groaned in frustration. "That idiot animal!"
The neighbor's pony was somehow caught in the fence; front legs through and back legs on the other side. Roxy rolled her eyes and carefully turned the truck around. There was nothing to do but drive back to the house and call the owner to come out with enough hands to free the pony. She tried the phone in the barn first but the neighbor didn't pick up the land line. She left a message and jogged over to the house. Her dad had left the neighbor's cell number on a piece of paper in the kitchen she recalled. She kicked her boots off on the steps and walked barefooted across the hardwood floor. Roxy was sifting through the papers on the counter when she heard something odd from the living room. She narrowed her eyes and picked up a hammer that was lying handy on the counter. She slipped up to the door and peered around the corner.
"Auxy, au, saux, auxy." Came from behind the couch.
Roxy blinked in surprise. At this distance there was no mistaking that voice. She set the hammer gently down and silently crept up to peep over the back of the couch. Rainbow was standing crouched over in the furthest corner as if he was desperately intent on something.
"Sauxy! Rrrrrrsauxy." He spat out before fluffing his feathers in irritation. "Auxy!"
Roxy gave a gasp of understanding and the raven gave an undignified squawk. He twisted his head around and positively glared at Roxy before hopping out from behind the couch and flying out the window, scolding her furiously the entire time.
It was a week before he forgave her the invasion of privacy and three months before he spoke her name; rolling out the 'r' perfectly. But Roxy couldn't seem to mind anymore.
A little something for #BirdCelebs