My Beautiful Parakeeets
Twitter! Chirp! Tweet! Warble!
Sweet, sweet sounds to any bird-lover. It's such a great feeling to walk into your house and here your bird squealing up a storm from it's cage with excitement at seeing you. You know the feelings. There are a lot of them that come with having a bird. The feeling of those little legs scooching up and down your finger, of the little toenails tap-tap-tapping when your baby lands on your head. The feeling of joy when your bird does his first trick, says his first word. The warm, excited feeling, the loud, screaming feeling that makes you jump and dance, simply because you have a budgie.
The awful quiet when suddenly you don't.
Sunny was the second bird I ever got. Mango came first, and even though I loved him, I never got close to him like I did to Sunny. Mango was feisty and mean. Sunny was a sweet, calm baby girl. Mango was curious and inquisitive. Sunny was a willing follower. Mango was aloof and had long ago decided that I was put on this earth to attend to his every need. Sunny was quietly submissive, sitting on my shoulder with her eyes closed when I kissed her. Never flying away, never screaming furiously at me. Always happy to see me, always ready to play with me or watch a movie with me. She would sit on my finger for hours while a talked to her and not move, her head cocked to the side while she listened. I was a young, beginning bird-owner. I didn't realize that while Mango had all the signs of a healthy bird, Sunny, my sweet, beautiful Sunny, did not.
One day I came home from school to find Mango sitting on top of the cage and Sunny nowhere to be seen. I panicked. I should never have left them home without tying the cage shut, because Mango had recently figured out how to get out of the cage. I ran around the house, calling, "Sunny! Sunny baby! Where are you?!" My sister, brother, mother, father, all joined in the hunt, worried. They all loved Sunny nearly as much as I did. They screamed and called, "Sunny! Saaaahhhhhny!" She was nowhere to be found.
None of us heard the fragile, answering chirps coming from behind the bookshelf.
In a panic, I ran back to my room where the cage was kept. Mango was walking around on top of the bookshelf, shrieking and warbling. Even in my worry, I smiled. Mango was helping to look for Sunny too. "Mango! Where's Sunny, huh? Where's your friend?" Mango screeched frustratedly and tapped his foot on the bookshelf. "Don't know, huh? That's okay. None of the rest of us do, either - " I paused. I had heard something. A chirp. Small. Pathetic. Frightened. Coming from behind the bookshelf.
"Mango, get off o' there!" Obediently, Mango flew over to his cage. I pushed on the shelf, heaving, trying to get the stupid thing to move across the carpet. Finally, I managed to do it. There was a thump, and an outraged twitter. "Sunny!" I cried, taking her up in my hands. I had never felt so relieved in my life. She chirped affectionately, and I put her gently inside her cage. Mango followed, which surprised me. Usually he put up a fight before going into the cage. I didn't think much about it, and hurried to tell my family that I'd found her. It's okay, I told myself. There's no need to worry. Sunny's okay. Mango probably just didn't want to aggravate me anymore. Yeah, that's it.
Boy, was I wrong.
Two weeks later, Sunny died. Broken ribs from getting smashed between the wall and the bookshelf. I sat there and cried, holding the dead body of what used to be my beautiful Sunny, for hours. My dad took me outside, and we buried her. We had a funeral. Halfway through, though, I burst into tears again and ran back inside. Mango sat in his cage. He hadn't made a sound since Sunny died. "You knew, didn't you?" I sobbed, looking at him. "You knew the whole time! Why was it Sunny? Why was it my Sunny...!" Mango gave one sad warble, and then he was silent.
A few days later, I buried Mango next to Sunny. I didn't cry this time. I was in shock. I couldn't think straight. I couldn't understand. Why had this happened? How could God take my babies away from me? I wasn't angry. I didn't know what I was. I was confused, lost. Words spun through my head like a tornado: Why, Sunny, Lost, Dead, Mango, Broken, Bookshelf, Vet, Expensive...
I still miss them terribly. We moved from that house, and I like this one even better than the old one. I have had a dog, Lucy, who ran away a couple of months ago (We hear she eloped with Bolt, the Superdog, and the two of them are heading off to New York to get jobs on Broadway. Scandalous!) and three other birds: Vanilla, Misty, and Tweety. All of them have been different. Vanilla was a bully. Misty was sweet and shy. Tweety had quite the sense of humor. But none of them - none of them - will ever replace my beautiful, beautiful parakeets.