Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sweet 'Keet

We had some sad news today.  The fact that I feel a little embarrassed about posting it is, I think, something of an insult to the subject of the sad news.

This morning I awoke to discover that my pet parakeet had died.

I've had him for eleven and a half years.  This little bird saw me through relationships good and bad, through law school, clerking, eight moves, and multiple jobs.  He was the darned happiest little bird, singing and chattering through anything.  He adored car rides, television, and his mirror.  David and I credited his longevity to his positive attitude.  

I always felt a little strange admitting to people that I had a parakeet.  It's a bit odd, not like having a dog or a cat.  My college roommates and I bought him the summer before my senior year, and I inherited him after graduation.  We'd wanted a pet, and we lived in an apartment that didn't allow more traditional canine or feline companions.  

We named him Halle.  He was so young when we bought him that we didn't know whether he was a girl or a boy (you can't tell a parakeet's gender until later, when the area above the beak turns either blue, indicating a male, or stays tan, indicating a female).  I was a religion major, and had a temporary obsession with giving pets religious names.  Halle was short for Hallelujah, and he certainly was one to praise each new day.  His name later caused considerable confusion regarding his gender-- even today I had family members refer to him as "she"-- but I assure you that he could not care less.  

Years ago, he was extraordinarily agile, and he'd fly from room to room in my small apartment, landing on curtain rods and unsuspecting guests' heads.  He (and a long-deceased companion, who lacked both Halle's happy outlook and his long life) chewed up the edges of many-a law school textbook, paperback novel, and even my old copy of Saint Augustine's Confessions.  

He'd been sick and weak over the last month or so, and I had a bad feeling that the end was near.  But really, what do you do for a parakeet of nearly-twelve?  Yesterday, he was out of his cage, sitting on my finger and enjoying having his head scratched.  This morning, he was quiet and still in the corner of his cage.  I woke up before David and found him, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry.  Is it crazy to cry over a parakeet if he's been in your home for a third of your life?  

I wrapped him up in tissue paper and placed him in a small, sturdy box.  (Incidentally, it was the Bottega Veneta box from the lovely wallet David gave me for a Christmas present.  The bird liked high quality, I tell you.)  We buried him out in the garden, under the statue of Saint Francis.  

If it's foolish to mourn a bird, then call me a fool.  I'll miss the little guy.  


Ali said...

Oh Lauren, I am so very sorry. You KNOW I understand, as I cried like a baby when Gus left me. I'm thinking about you. What a wonderful burial you gave such a sweet, steadfast companion.

Arwen said...

I don't think it's at all embarrassing to be sad! I cried when my parents' dog died, and they only had him for four years and I'd been at college for three of them, so he definitely wasn't *my* dog. Halle was your bird, your special little pal, and of COURSE you're sad that he's gone. I am so sorry for your loss - you must miss him a lot.

Natalie said...

Oh no! I loved Halle. He was the sweetest little guy. I'm so sorry Lauren. He was always so cheerful with his "Pretty bird!" and "I love you" exclamations. What a good long life though.


Brooke said...

ah, i'm sorry to hear! bless his little heart.