Thursday, August 11, 2016

A code reinforced

juvenile catbird
It died, of course, the bird. 
The Complete and Total Loser thought it was going well. It had spent a night out successfully and flew to the Loser the next morning, chirping for a morning meal. It was staying out all day, hunting its beloved insects and spiders. The Loser took it in the night after its first full night out due to heavy rain, though the bird had spent a day during a rainstorm remaining dry. The next night it was out again.
The next morning, no bird.
The Loser had a bad feeling about it as the day went on. It wouldn't have left that completely and abruptly—it still looked to the Loser for food and protection. The Loser went outside his back door often, clapping and calling and getting no response. He knew.
Friends, of course, put nice faces on bad things and said he may have joined his family or others of his species or, at worst, been chased from its territory by bigger birds, bluejays perhaps.
Yesterday, the Loser found its body, well eaten by ants but still clearly the bird's. It was right by the small single step that leads to the backdoor. How he hadn't seen it for the eight days since the bird vanished is baffling. His only comfort is that the bird had died before he could have saved it. The Loser was often at that door the day after the bird left and if it had been alive at all a sound or movement would have surely caught the Loser's ear or eye. His open bedroom window is directly above that step.
It's probable that the bird was injured or ill and got to that location, closest to the only companion and protector it had ever known, and died waiting for the Loser's help.
Birds are small and dumb, the Loser tells himself, and incapable of forming an intimate relationship with a human. True of all pets; we anthropomorphize the rest. But there were times in the final days when the Loser was sitting outside with the bird and it had eaten when it wouldn't fly off into a bush or tree. Instead, it would stand on the Loser's hand and then sit, and just look at the Loser. It was simply hanging out with a friend.
The Loser forgot his code for a few weeks, but he remembers it now and will keep it with renewed vigor: Never love anything.

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