Tonight was like any other night, or so I thought. I opened my door, put my groceries away, got out of my work clothes, and went to go give my cockatiel his goodnight “kiss”. When I didn’t see him silhouetted on his perch, I knew something was wrong. Then I got closer to his cage and the unmistakable scent of death hit me. I quickly turned on my bedroom light to confirm what I already knew:
My cockatiel Xavier…my little love…my animal companion of 16 years…is dead.
Picking him up from the bottom of his cage, I cradled his incredibly light body to mine…made even lighter by the departure of his soul. He looks fine. Soft grey and white feathers, pink feet with perfect claws, eyes closed like he’s about to turn his head and nestle his beak between his shoulders. My heart seems to beat slower as it hits me full force that he will never open his eyes again.
I sit on the edge of my bed, tears staining my nightshirt as I clutch the hollow shell of my long-time friend to my breast. I knew him since he was only 5 months old, and got him as my 13th birthday present. This September was going to be his 16th birthday…and now it won’t be.
I won’t ever be woken up at 7am again by his squawks. I won’t hear his whistles of greeting when I come back from jogging in the morning. He will never again annoy me by trying to nibble my Xbox controller or TV remote. He will never again melt my heart when he walks across my couch to cuddle under my chin as I read at night. My baby…my little love…my Xavier…is gone. And nothing I do can bring him back.
I can only hope that whatever life he leads next is pleasant and fulfilling, as I tried to make this one for him. No matter the form he takes…I pray that he is happy.
Sleep sweet, Xavier. I’ll miss you.