I had this one friend and neighbor called Lucas. He is one weird kid.
I remember when we’re in kindergarten and our teacher ask us what we want to be when we grew up, he said he wanted to be a dinosaur. Of course it’s just a weird child’s dream and imagination, but as we grew older, he had decided to pursue the dream in a different way and want to be an archeologist, He want to be a part of the team that uncover more hidden treasures of the forgotten, to quote what he said.
So anyway, I hate bones, skeletons and especially any avians carcass, even frozen chicken. It’s more of a phobia but I’m a lot better now than when I was younger.
The story is like this.
On my parents old house, we have a somewhat wide backyard with tress and bushes and whatnot. On one of the tree lived a family of birds. I don’t know what kind of bird it was but my dad said it might be mockingbird as he’s not that particularly great at spotting animal types and things like that, so he just gave me a rough estimation.
I remember that it was raining quite hard that day and I’m just playing around with my toys on the shaded porch. As the rain turns into drizzles some time after, I noticed some squeaky yet weak birds calling that I can’t really heard from the rain before and I followed it to the tree where the mockingbird nest was. Under the wet, muddy ground, I saw a small fledgling trying to get away from a rather deep slope that’s became a small pool from the rain water.
I think I was stunned and stood on my place for a few seconds before I hurriedly scooped the little thing from the death trap and hold its shivering body on my palms. Its feather can’t even be called fully grown honestly, and at that time it even struggled to open its eyes.
As a five and a half years old boy, I don’t particularly know what I should do, so in panic I broke into a sprint and held the dying looking fledgling on my now shaking hands home while screaming at my mom for help.
My mom was originally reluctant, but in my plea she agreed to took the bird to a vet. We used towel and some warming pod to surround it as the only first aid we could do and rushed to the vet. It took us around thirty minutes from the suburb–but very far from town home–to reach the closest animal hospital that open on Sunday.
I held the fledgling close to me all the way in the car, just trying to gave it some extra warmth through the towel though even the young me know that it’s a useless thing to do as I saw how weaker and fainter it’s chest moves became on our way to the vet.
Five minutes in, and the doctor came to the silently crying me and my mom, telling us that the tittle thing is gone. I cried harder.
We went back home, my mom trying to cheer me up while I held the coffin box the vet gave me containing the now cold little bird.
My dad was already home from work the moment we went back and suggesting to held a small funeral for it. Under the tree where it fell, he dug up the still wet soil and proceeded to place the coffin box in a very solemn manner. He gave a small eulogy with a very respectful manner, thought never met the bird at all or even saw it since the coffin box is totally non see through. Next is my mom and the last one is me.
Before, we have a small discussion to wether or not we should gave the deceased bird a name. My mother objects as she doesn’t seen it as appropriate since it’s not even our pet and the family of birds has been self sufficient all this time, and giving it a name might just deepen my sadness in the long run. My father disagree with that notion but gave up after a while and asked me instead. I wishes to grant the fledgling a name to remember it.
I don’t know if the bird was a male or female, and since I don’t even know that an unisex names were a thing, my choice fall to the name Robbie, because one of my favorite toy’s name at that time was Ronny, so I can keep remembering the small thing for a long time.
My dad took a sizable rock and used permanent marker to wrote ‘Here lay Robbie, a lovable small bird, 1999 – 1999’ and place it firmly on the ground where a small mound was visible.
I looked up and tried to spot the bird nest on the branch, but the night has fallen and I can’t really make out which one is which, but I’m still able to hear the birds calling and tears pricked my eyes again.
After a silent prayer, we went back home, I took my shower immediately because my clothes are all dirty from mud and rain. We ate microwaved TV dinner because we’re hungry and mom doesn’t feels like cooking. They tucked me in right after that. I was only under the rain for a few minutes but I was prone to influenza at that time, so it’s no wonder that I got a cold the next day.
In the evening, I was a little better and Lucas whom just back from a visit form his grandma’s place in the next town over came to visit me since he said he missed me. We have some random talk, but since it’s been so long I can’t be sure whatever we’re even talking about, but he mentioned that he and his family just adopted a few months old kitty. The cat was born on his grandma’s farm and they have a batch of litter that they can’t really keep because the mother’s got into some fights with other cats and ended up died. They managed to get three of the cats adopted but one, and that’s the cat they took home. Aside from that, Thai y also have another older cat named Tyra, but he’s a very lazy cat and don’t like to came out often.
My mom doesn’t want any pet at home, so I usually just go over to his house if I wished to pet some animals since Tyra is one fluffy Angola. Lucas wanted to show me the still unnamed cat but since I’m still bedridden, my mom doesn’t let it came close for the time being.
I was a lot more better the next day and Lucas visited me again, this time with the little kitty in hand. It was a cute brown-orange cat, with a little white on its feet area. We hang out on the porch and letting the cat roam freely on the backyard. My parents and his parents was also there to keep their eyes on us, while talking about adult stuff.
A while after the little cat was back with dirt all over it. It was drizzled a little bit an hour or two before, so the ground was a little muddy. Knowing that my mom doesn’t like mud too much on our home, I got up with the intention to clean it while Lucas was still occupied with our toys and I’m closer to it. I don’t noticed it at first since it’s very dirty, but it held something on its mouth.
Seeing me, it attempted to meowing with the thing still in its mouth, a small part of it fallen to the ground, and I stared. And I stared. Than I screamed.
We don’t really know how it manage to dig it out since I recalled my dad seems to bury it quite deep, maybe the ground became too soft after the rain and it’s just the cats luck or a stray animal had made an attempt on digging it before and decided to leave it be after, but that thing on the cats mouth simply set out my years of phobia and nightmare for weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a coward or anything, but I probably had too much attachment with my short encounter with Robbie and seeing it with its decomposed state was too much for my five years old brain to handle, and years of therapy is what I got from it.
Twenty something years later, seeing a packed chicken on the supermarket aisle didn’t set me off too much now, but I’m definitely will never be willing to touch it at anytime soon.
I don’t blame him or the cat too much, and we actually managed to be a very good friend for as long as it last. After we finished high school, both me and Lucas pretty much goes on our separated way. Me with my boring ass economic major and him going to whatever college that make him be able to made him an archeologist. We tried to keep contact but as we grew older, we sorta just drifted apart I guess. It probably also in factor of me going to another town for work and him jumping countries to follow his professors and doing his archeologist work and research, both of us busy with the chaotic adult life.
So, why am I talking long and dramatically about my phobia and Lucas? It was a very nice, Sunday morning and I got a package from Lucas that I haven’t been seeing for the last couple of years. I can’t be sure but the last time I talked to him was probably around October last year, and it was the first of July today.
Curious, I opened the thing and what I saw is a seemingly a sculpture, taxidermy or a very damn good replica of some bird I don’t know about and I obviously chucked the thing across the room the moment I laid my eyes on it since it doesn’t looks alive. Who am I kidding, I’m still very much terrified of dead birds.
When I did it, a card came falling from the box and the only thing written on it is a sentence saying he’ll be back from his expedition in a month, and it’s addressed to Micah.
…Micah is the name of his little niece. The little fucker sent the wrong package to me.
I don't know what happen but it wasn't supposed to be this long... I have been suffering from fever for days now and i don't know what the h*ck am i even writing. Well, enjoy i guess. Gonna be publishing this sometimes after to my account later. And there's a possible second part for this. K bay.