Creative Writing Wednesday: “Talk to Me, Goose”: Part 2 of 4

Posted: May 23, 2012 in Creative Writing Wednesday

The epic saga of the unnamed gander continues in this… the second part of “Talk to Me, Goose”!

…And I don’t have much to say, except for the fact that this point is where the love story that drives the whole plot comes in.

I’m busy today. Maybe next week, once things calm down a bit, I can put up some more about this story. For now, though, here’s more philosophical goosely meanderings.

~ Ian


It was in a rainy northern city in late spring that the gander first saw the woman.

He was swimming in a pond in a city park, enjoying the cool slimy water on his feathers as he paddled (for all his intellectual advances, occasionally there were some goosely pleasures too strong to resist). Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw her sit down on a bench.

It may have been that he was lonely. Or maybe it was a newfound ability to see the beauty in the strange and ungoosely. For whatever reason, he looked at her, and instantly his heart pounded.

She was beautiful. Her hair was the red-gold color of a sunset over the ocean. Her eyes were the color of the sky on a clear summer day. She wore a coat the color of fog, a top the color of young grass, and faded, tatty blue jeans. But what struck the gander about her most was the intelligence in her eyes. There was something brilliant and sad in her expression, as if her face was a mirror of the gander’s deepest desires. She was like everything he’d ever dreamed of and nothing he’d ever seen.

The woman opened her messenger bag and got out a thick textbook and a loaf of bread. Birds of all kinds– geese and ducks, pigeons and starlings– flocked around her as she broke off chunks of the bread and tossed them the crumbs.

The gander didn’t come any closer than about twenty feet. He simply stood there, watching her read, enraptured.

Soon she ran out of bread, and the other birds moved away, uninterested. The gander still watched her, marvelling at the way she pursed her lips as she read her book, her brow furrowing in intellectual contempation.

Eventually she noticed him.

The woman looked at the gander, and smiled faintly. “I’m out of bread, you know,” she said. “I haven’t got anything else.”

The goose didn’t say anything. He was shocked that she’d spoken to him.

She laughed, and her voice was like the sound of wind under his wings. “Why are you staring at me?” she asked.

“I just think that you’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen,” said the gander.

Of course she didn’t understand him. But she laughed again, more brightly this time. Her smile widened, and a light came into her eyes. “Listen to you!” she exclaimed. “You don’t sound like any goose I’ve ever heard. It’s kind of funny, actually.”

“I made up my own language.” Even though he knew that she wouldn’t comprehend, he still spoke to her, as if he could pretend to have a conversation with her. “That’s why I sound funny. Because I can talk.”

“It almost sounds like you’re talking,” said the woman. She stroked her chin thoughtfully, and crossed one perfect, jean-clad leg. “Here. I think I might have something.”

She reached into her messenger bag and pulled out an energy bar. “I was saving this for a snack later. But you know what? I just might split it with you.”

The gander brightened at that. He came over to her, self-conscious of his goosely waddle, and hopped on the bench next to her. She laughed, and unwrapped the energy bar, breaking it in half and crumbling it up into small pieces for him.

The gander looked over her shoulder at her textbook. He couldn’t read– even though he knew that the ink sqiggles on the page were words, he’d never learned to decipher them. There were a lot of pictures on the page. Pictures of the insides of animals. Dogs and cats.

“I’m studying to be a veterinarian,” said the woman. “I’m go to college here. Actually I’m from Yakima originally, but I like it here. It’s a big city. Yakima’s beautiful, but it’s kind of boring.” She bit off a piece of energy bar. The gander saw a lump in her neck bob up and down as she swallowed. He’d never noticed how smooth and pretty human skin could be. Easily as pretty as feathers. “I miss my dog, though. I would talk to her like she was a person. None of that stupid baby talk. Kind of like I’m talking to you right now.”

Then she paused, and shook her head. “Ahh, I’m probably crazy. You don’t understand what I’m saying. You’re just a goose.”

“Of course I understand you,” the gander said. “I learned human language a while ago. I can understand it– I just can’t speak it. It’s something to do with how my throat’s shaped.”

She laughed. “You sound so funny!” And she put a hand on the gander’s back and stroked it gingerly.

The gander tensed. He’d never been touched by a human before. But her hand was warm and smooth, and soon he controlled his instincts and grew to enjoy it.

“Is this okay?” said the woman. “I mean, you’re a wild animal, and this is probably a little… uncomfortable for you.”

“I love it,” he replied. “It’s better than flying.”

Eventually the woman went back to her book. The gander read over her shoulder (though really he just looked at the pictures), wondering about what the word “veterinarian” meant. After a while, he decided it meant “a human who is a friend to dogs and geese”. He wondered why she needed to study to be that.

The sun sank lower and lower, and the unlikely couple drew odd glances from passersby. But the gander didn’t care. He may have been sitting on a park bench with a human, but in his heart, he was soaring.

A blast of tinny, low-fidelity rock music cut through the silence. The woman looked up from her book and pulled a cell phone out from her messenger bag. She opened it and put it to her ear. “Hello?” the woman said. “Oh, hi, Connor.” A pause. “I’m at the park right now, studying.” Pause. “Really? Come on, Connor. Does it have to be now?” Pause. “Okay, fine. I’m on my way. Love you.”

The woman turned to the gander and smiled bashfully. “I’m sorry, buddy. My boyfriend just called me. He’s got a big paper due tomorrow, and he needs me to write it. I’ve got to go.” She gave him a pat on the head, and stood up, taking her messenger bag and textbook with her.

The gander watched her walking off, her movement so smooth and perfect, like the waves on the sea. He knew the word “boyfriend”: it meant a mate. A committed relationship, part of that elaborate human mating ritual called “romance”. That made him sad, of course. The feeling of soaring that he had earlier was replaced with a feeling of sinking, a feeling like he was falling from the sky. But he’d still shared that moment with her. Besides, this was a big park. Humans came back to this place regularly.

The next day, the woman was back on the same park bench, her messenger back next to her, her textbook out. When she saw him, she smiled, and it was like sunlight.

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