When the parrot went missing, I put my hat on, took my father-in-law’s Peruvian cane with the carved parrot, asked my husband to come home, placed his skates by the gate, and headed out, leaving the entrance door unlocked. The parrot, Torrap, had long discovered how to unlock the cage door with a combined action of nails and beak, and how to open our bedroom door, by calling the dog’s name (God) and saying, “God! Door!”
We kept the door closed because we were trying, but I was, secretly, on the pill.
God’s heavy paw weighed down on the doorknob until it surrendered to the push, and on the occasions it didn’t, we were already awakened by the noise, so we opened the door to let them in and get a little rest. Yet I couldn’t count on Torrap’s locksmith’s skills always.
Within minutes, my husband messaged he was on his way back. Torrap was his favorite, though he would never admit it. They even looked alike, except for the color, as my husband wasn’t red and green.
God accompanied me, unleashed, skipping with delight at the unexpected walk. A neighbor, who was clipping cherry tomatoes in his garden, asked if we were going to hunt down that parrot of ours that always escaped.
“Torrap is free,” I said, “We’re simply worried because the city is so dangerous.”
“And the dog?” he asked.
“Free,” I said.
“Keep your eyes on him,” he replied.
“God is a she,” I said.
“I found poop on my lawn,” he commented, his eyes already digging holes in my backside.
“Come, God, come,” I called. God loved everyone, but not everyone could love dogs.
If I’d had a favorite, it would have been God, because of that endless sweetness locked in a furry body bound by killer instincts, but Torrap occupied my mind so much, I didn’t have the privilege of choosing one over the other.
“God made us in his own image,” my husband always joked.
“Her,” I said. I noticed the resemblance too, though not that minute.
I looked at the treetops, roofs, and fences, while God chased after small animals. I called Torrap’s name, and listened for the hungry meows of cats or the swift batting of wings. Eventually, the whiplash of my husband’s fast skating cut through the heavy breathing of God and myself.
“Nothing?” he asked, hurrying beside us.
“I’ll go back home to see if Torrap is back there.”
“Okay, love you. Really.”
Torrap wasn’t at home, but two teenagers were. I interrupted their dealings with my laptop in the kitchen and chased them out with hysterical screams. God barked playfully, avoiding any other type of intervention.
“Good dog,” my husband’s voice said from above.
I turned around to find Torrap swinging over the living room chandelier, all dusty from the street but still dashing.
“Oh God,” I said.
God wagged her tail.
I went out to look for my husband. The air was crystal clear. I felt ready to have babies.
Avital Gad-Cykman’s flash collection Life In, Life Out was published by Matter Press. Her stories have been published in The Literary Review, Ambit, CALYX Journal, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, Prism International, Michigan Quarterly Review and elsewhere. They have also been featured in anthologies such as W.W. Norton’s International Flash Fiction Anthology, Sex for America, Politically Inspired Fiction, Stumbling and Raging, Politically Inspired Fiction, The Flash, and The Best of Gigantic. Her work won the Margaret Atwood Society Magazine Prize, was placed first in The Hawthorne Citation Short Story Contest, and was a finalist for Iowa Fiction Award for story collections twice. She lives in Brazil.