Sunday evening we were sitting on our patio having a beer because we’d been rollerblading and it was brutally hot. I was seaming a sock when a robin came hopping across the lawn. “Cheep, cheep, cheep,” he said. I figured he was a teenaged male, because he still had some speckles on his chest.
I said hello.
“Cheep, cheep, cheep,” he said, and hopped closer – close enough that I could have reached out and touched him.
“You’re too close,” I said. “You should be afraid of me.”
He hopped under my chair to the other side, where my beer was. He pecked at my beer bottle. He hopped over in front of my feet and looked at me. “Cheep, cheep, cheep.”
“Maybe he’s hungry,” Ed said.
I don’t approve of feeding the wildlife. Perhaps a concession to that, when Ed went inside, he got a slice of 12-grain bread, rather than the wonder bread we feed the boy. He broke a few pieces off and dropped them on the ground.
The robin ate one and lost interest. He cheeped at me.
Across the lawn came another robin, also speckled so maybe young.
“Cheep, cheep, cheep,” it said.
The first robin went over to Ed’s beer and pecked it. Now they both stood, looking at us, cheeping. One of them stood under Ed’s knees while he sat on the front stoop.
“Thirsty?” Ed said.
"I don’t know,” I said.
Ed left the bread on the step and went inside again. He came back a minute later with a pasta bowl of water and set it down on the patio.
The first bird climbed in, splashed all over the place, climbed out, and hopped off.
The second bird climbed in, splashed all over the place, climbed out, and hopped off, very scruffy looking.
And that was that.