She tried to ignore the parrot’s preening on her shoulder. It wasn’t the grooming that bothered her as much as the occasional clicking sound at her ear. It no longer made her flinch, like when she was younger, but had only become obnoxious.
“Need any help?” she asked the bird. The twitter could have been a coincidence or a response. Taking it as an affirmative, she brought up her hand at a level above where her shoulder was and waited for him to step up onto it. When he did, she brought him around to her front and scratched behind his neck.
The sheaths on the new feathers had begun to fall off. She broke through them gently with her fingernails and rubbed them into a form of dissolution. It looked like dandruff on his back and she fought the impulse to blow it off. Afterward. Not yet, or else she would have to do that over and over with every bit she worked on.
A beak nibbled over the back of her hand and she pat the top of his head.