BOB, THE ONE-LEGGED ROBIN by Natalie McNabb
Seeing our one-legged robin friend, I perched my daughter on the deck railing to watch his morning hunt below. He hopped and froze, head cocked. Four more hops toward us landed him amidst the daffodils, their buttery heads swaying in the breeze. The robin pecked the ground, lifted a worm-trophy proudly into the air for us to see.
My daughter squealed in disgust and triumph, frightening the robin to flight. We laughed, and I moved her back to her chair.
Yes? I took off the brake and turned her wheelchair toward the slider.
She smoothed her periwinkle sundress over her thin right leg and the stub of the other. Will Bob come back?
Of course, I said and kissed the top of her head. Her bronzy curls still smelled of the grape shampoo I helped her rinse out last night.
Angie looked up and scratched the patch of freckles on her cheek. Did we scare him?
I wouldn’t hurt him.
He doesn’t know that.
Breakfast was quiet. No questions or whining for cartoons. Not even a tantrum, which was what usually led up to the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday minivan trips to see her physical therapist. The telephone rang, and I answered.
Did I leave my wallet somewhere? my husband asked.
It wasn’t on the counter or kitchen table. I don’t think so, I said. Did you check your coat?
I recognized its brown leather across the room. You left it on the bookshelf. Do you need it?
Not really, I guess. How’s Angie?
What’s she doing?
Picking at breakfast. Jelly’s everywhere but the pancake.
Let me talk to her. I knew he was smiling by the tone of his voice.
I held the receiver out toward Angie’s sticky fingers. Daddy wants to say ‘Hi.’ She put the phone to her ear.
I crammed the dishwasher with another plastic cup.
Uh-huh, Angie said and grinned. She beckoned me with the jelly-printed receiver. Daddy wants you, Mama.
I wiped the phone down with the dishrag and put it to my ear. What’d you say?
Asked if she was enjoying her jelly.
She’s still smiling.
To read the complete story, go to iTunes.
Natalie McNabb lives and writes in Washington State where her dog, Skookum, and cat, Mo, can usually be found beneath the trees of her Eden with a squirrel tail, an exhumed mole, or an up-flung mouse. She loves red—red dragonflies resting on bamboo stakes, red wine in her glass, red flip-flops on her red-toenailed feet—and words that caress, tickle, irritate, or beat against her soul.
Please visit her at www.nataliemcnabb.com.