Penelope’s Last Flight

By. R.S.

Anne waited by her front door for Bridget.  Each day, at exactly 3:05pm, Bridget’s school bus stopped in front of her house.  “Your sister is home, my handsome little man” said Anne holding baby Adam. “Mommy, Mommy” shouted Bridget excitedly as she stepped out of the bus. Bridget’s long curly brown pig-tails were bouncing off her shoulders as she ran towards her Mom.  Anne kneeled down to give Bridget a big welcome-back hug as she did every day.  

“Mommy, I had so much fun today at school.  I painted a picture of Penelope” said Bridget.  “You did!! I can’t wait to see it” said Anne. “I used green and yellow paint for her feathers and red paint for her body.  I painted her eyes blue, just like the sky, Mommy” said Bridget. “Where is the picture Bridget?” asked Anne. “Mrs. Woods told me it will be dry tomorrow and then I can take the picture home. I can’t wait to show Penelope her picture.  I love her so much.” said Bridget happily. “Let’s go inside for a snack and then you can play with Penelope,” said Anne.  

Penelope the Parakeet was an exceptionally smart parakeet.  Each day, at the break of dawn, Penelope would open her cage with one foot, fly to the halfway opened kitchen cabinet and land on top of the birdseed box.  She would poke her nose into the box to feed herself. When she was full, she would fly back to her cage, close the door and take a morning snooze until Bridget came into the kitchen for breakfast.

“Penelope, Penelope, ohh, how I missed you, my pretty bird!” said Bridget.  Bridget opened the cage and gently took Penelope out onto her hand, tenderly kissing the top of her head. “Oh, I can’t wait to bring home my painting to show you Penelope.  Mommy told me that I can hang your picture on the refrigerator next to your cage so you can look at it” said Bridget smiling. Penelope nodded her head and flew on top of Bridget’s head.  “Mommy, Penelope is on my head again” said Bridget laughing. Anne gently smiled as she took Penelope off Bridget’s head and put her back into her cage.  

The next day, when Bridget came home from school, Anne had a long frown on her face.  “Bridget, sweetheart, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. Come into the living room” said Anne.  “O.K. Mommy, but I want to see Penelope first. I brought home the painting of Penelope and I want to show her” said Bridget excitedly.  “That’s what I want to talk with you about” said Anne sadly. “Bridget, do you remember the special talk we had the night that great grandma died.  We talked about how she went to live in a special place in heaven with God. How great Grandma will always be with us in our hearts. Well darling, this afternoon, I came downstairs to make lunch in the kitchen and I saw Penelope on the floor.” said Anne.  “What!!!!! Is Penelope O.K. Mommy?” cried Bridget.

“I’m afraid not. I found her next to the refrigerator on the floor and she was not moving or breathing. Our dear Penelope died and has gone to heaven. She has gone to a special place to live in heaven with God and all her bird friends.  I know you loved her very much. I’m so sorry to tell you this. Penelope is already watching you from heaven and waving hello with her wing. She can see the beautiful painting you made of her” said Anne in a quivering voice. Bridget busted out crying and ran upstairs to her room. “Oh, Bridget” said Anne as she went upstairs to comfort Bridget. 

After a few minutes, Anne took Bridget into her arms. “Why, Mommy, Why? Will I ever see her again?” cried Bridget. “Of course you will see her again. We are all given a certain amount of time to live on this planet, Earth. When our time ends on Earth, we go to live in a special place, a place more beautiful than our Earth, more beautiful than our home, more beautiful than our imaginations can think of.  I know Penelope loved you very much. She will always be with us in our hearts and in our minds, whenever we think of her. The love you have in your heart for her will always be there, even if you don’t see her anymore, just like Great Grandma, said Anne softly.

“She will always be your best friend and you will always be her best friend. God made us with lots of love in our hearts to share with each other and with our pets” said Anne.  “Mommy, can you hang Penelope’s picture on the refrigerator, so I can look at her every day. I loved her so much. My heart hurts, Mommy” said Bridget tearfully. “I know my dear, my heart hurts too.” said Anne.

A few weeks later, Bridget went to the animal shelter with her Mom and Dad.  Bridget picked out a golden retriever puppy and named her Star. Bridget giggled as Star jumped up giving her lots of puppy dog kisses.  Bridget skipped and rolled around on the grass as she took Star in the back yard for potty walks. A few months later, Star became more than a  puppy to Bridget, she became her special new best friend.  

After dinner, Bridget and Star went into the backyard.  Bridget lied down on top of the grass with Star staring straight up to the sky and waved hello to Penelope.