My bird died.
We have no idea how old he was, but he flew into Tam’s life about 12 years ago. They saw that little cockatiel in the yard, the weather was starting to get cold, so she and her kids spent the next day or so trying to catch him. He finally found himself under a overturned laundry basket and was taken inside the house.
All the accoutrements were purchased, and a name was given: Pokey.
He was a neurotic, feather pulling, untagged little tyrant who refused to bond with anyone. Well, he tried to bond with Tam’s mom, but she’s more of a dog person, so that didn’t quite work out.
Then Tam moved in with me, and somehow I managed to persuade Pokey to become my friend. It didn’t take long for the two of us to bond, and for the first time in my life, I felt there was a pet that was truly mine. I was his favorite.
He would shriek a greeting the moment he heard me come home, and make all kinds of racket until I greeted him properly. Many of my clothes were adorned by bird poop, because, well, birds poop rather indiscriminately. We would “schmoozle” each other and his little feet would be so warm on my arm.
Pokey was a frequent visitor at my computer, and I considered him my muse. I did some of my best writing with him perched there. Not always, though. There were moments I spent more time keeping him off my keyboard, where he would attempt to eat the symbols off the keys, or just stroll around and act like he was about to poop. Again.
So, he was at least 13 years old when he flew over the Rainbow Bridge. Some people say that’s only midlife for a bird, others say that’s about all you get. Whatever. As far as I’m concerned, it wasn’t long enough. Ten more years wouldn’t have been long enough. I only got to enjoy him for a little over a year.
But it was a good year for both of us.
We buried him outside the office window, his favorite toy hanging in the apple tree next to his grave. Later that afternoon, I had to run an errand, I didn’t really want to be alone, but I was a big girl and did what needed to be done. When I was on my way home, teary and sad, something caught my eye.
Right there, over the valley where I live, was a rainbow…