The Ugly Duck, I Mean Crow!

5 min
Image of 2018
Image of Short Story
The day when I got my first pet was the most extraordinary day in my life! I was expecting a nice looking pet to cuddle with, but, what I got was... well a whole different story!

It all started on Friday, I was texting my friends on my phone about how excited I was because the weekend was ahead of us! When mom told me that dad finally agreed to welcome a pet into our family! At that moment I remembered a cool pet animal shelter I went to on a field trip back in 3rd grade, Pet’s World! At this place it is possible to find the most rare and unique animals you would never believe could become a pet. And the best part, they become great pets as they get training and you get to receive a cool class with all the techniques to make your pet follow commands.
“Can we get one of those pets at Pet’s World? Can we go now?” I asked mom urgently. “Yes, we can.” Said mom smiling. I was so excited that my mind was already imagining looking for the pet at that shelter.
“Quick, your dad is going to pick you up in two minutes!” Said mom. In case you were wondering why mom is staying home, it is because she needs to take care of my three year old brother Mandy.
When we got to the shelter, I saw animals of all kinds, the domestic kind and the wild kind like snakes, raccoons, even a skunk was looking at me hoping to be adopted. Not for me, I thought, asking dad if we were going to get any of these exotic pets. No honey, those are way too expensive. A bird is what I have in mind, what do you think? I sighed, oh well, maybe we will find some cool birds already trained to do cool stuff. But as we entered the bird section we saw all the bird cages empty! What is going on? A huge disappointment pushed my shoulders and my eyes down questioning my dad, what can save this day?
No one was there, except for a man that was in the cleaning room at the end of the hall observing us. He waved to us to get some attention. “Dad look, I think that guy wants to tell us something!” I said. We walked rapidly to where he was. As we were approaching I noticed there was a big cage next to him. It was covered in a blanket. Then he said, “Are you guys interested in adopting this bird?” Next, he removed the blanket little by little, my eyes were staring at the cage waiting to see this unexpected surprise!
Now this is what I call a scream out of my lungs!! The bird in the cage was a crow with no feathers, plus, for my big surprise, it only had one leg. My dad did not scream, but showed that he was totally freaked out by the unexpected bird! I stared at the bird for a long time. Finally, I decided to say something. “Are you sure this is the only bird here?” “I'm sorry, this is the only one we have, the rest of them have been adopted by that Zoo in town”, the man said. I sighed and looked with special attention to the expression of those eyes the bird had, which reflected both strength and courage at the same time.
Believe it or not we ended up driving with an ugly looking bird next to my seat staring at me. It was a long ride home which gave me plenty of time to observe this special creature. Worried but with a new sense of compassion, I started to feel sorry for him. “He must have had a hard life. I bet he was the only bird left at the pet shop because of his poor appearance and because no one saw themselves adopting him as a pet.” I thought.
All of these feelings were contrasted by the amazing reflection of courage in his eyes! Until that moment, for me it was hard to think that an animal, specially a bird, could overcome big challenges in life such as having no feathers and just one leg.
“I’ll take care of him to show him I care!” I said to my dad. He looked at me through the rear view mirror and gave me a look of confidence.
As the school year was passing by really fast in my first year of middle school, life had not been easy for me either. Not to the point of this bird’s life, but the new challenges in a new school, getting to know new classmates and to start to recognize what true friendship meant, especially dealing with this group of popular kids who seem to be interesting, but not precisely good friends.
I had already texted them in our group chat about getting a new pet. So the expectations were already in the air! Are they going to spread some gossip? Are they stop being my friends? Are they going to laugh at me? I was just about to feel worried, when I realized we had gotten home.
Just great! Mom was so excited waiting to meet the pet at the porch! I was worried about her reaction. “Mom, why don't you just wait for us in the kitchen?” I yelled from the car. “Ok Honey”, she said. She went inside and as we walked through the hall I said to her, “this pet looks a little bit different, you will see”.
My father and I both took off the blanket slowly, “please welcome” I said...Aahhhh! Screamed mom, “what is that thing?” She asked with terrified eyes. “This is our new pet”. I said.
Mom looked just as surprised as I was at the shop. But after a real talk with my family we agreed that we would accept this new pet in our house and we would embrace all of the new challenges that come with taking care of him.
“So, what are you going to name him?” She asked. The question was interrupted by the wood noise of the stairs as my brother Mandy came down to see the pet. “Cool! What is this creature? Wow, it is weird!”
“Hey, don’t call Cherry weird!” I said. “By the way, Cherry is the bird’s name!” “Cherry, seriously!” He said. “Yes, his name is Cherry!” I said. The brilliance and shape of this bird’s eyes reminds me of Cherries and I love Cherries!
From that day on, that bird became my reason to overcome fears I used to have of rejection, failure and acceptance. Because as I started to teach him commands like flying from one place to another and get my attention by chirping to get more food or water, his defects were becoming a reason to admire him. Soon, everyone in the family started to bond with him in a very special way. My mom always sang a song for him so he would move his head up and down as he would be dancing.
Everything seemed to be going great at home, but in school it was a different story. Remember I texted my friends about the new pet? Well, I got the idea to send them a picture of Cherry and a video of him dancing. In no time everyone in the classroom had that video in their cell phones and almost 200 views on Facebook the day they spread it. When I arrived to the classroom that Monday, I noticed all eyes were on me. What is going on? Is this some kind of special day for me? It is not my birthday. I noticed some gossiping and laughing but it was just time to start the class. The teacher quickly started to discuss lesson #22 of the math book. When the class ended, that group of popular girls called my attention by waving their cell phones to me. I walked to their desks and one of them showed me her popular post on Facebook: “The Ugly Duck, I mean Crow” using my video. Probably, three months before, this situation would have been devastating to me, a great motive to be ashamed and discouraged, but on the contrary, it gave me a reason to show everyone all the good qualities that Cherry had. The next day, I asked my teacher if she would allow me to bring Cherry to class and I told her his story and what had happened the day before at school. She not only agreed, but with the approval of the school principal, she allowed me to do a performance of Cherry’s skills in front of the entire school. Everyone was amazed to see Cherry's ability to interact with me. And the best part was that the school used the video as an example of acceptance and courage. The video went viral and the purpose of Cherry’s life was already touching the lives of others by reminding them that we all must be respectful to ourselves and to others and that even what could appear as the most insignificant being to some could be the most extraordinary example of courage! Like this bird named Cherry.

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