Thursday, August 15, 2002

Pei Ling was telling me about her guinea pig. She liked it a lot. When it was hungry, it would make little 'oink oink' sounds, just like a real pig. After having it for about a month or so, she grew attached to it. And then one day, it died. Apparently, as her brother found out later, you can only bath guinea pigs twice a year. Pei Ling bathed her little piggy twice that month. Yes, it's tragic. I can sympathize with her, cause if you're going to move your guinea pig into a newer and bigger cage and it's smelly, your first reaction would be to give it a bath. Sigh.

I had a pet too. Once. Through no fault of mine. I came back from university classes one day, and there was this little baby bird sitting in my shoe. My natural reaction was to curse and swear rather colourfully about the bird's choice of shoes to get comfortable in. I can imagine how anyone passing by would have seen me: guy dressed in black carrying a bag slung over his shoulder, his face contorted into a picture of agony as he stared miserably at his shoe, repeating four letter obscenities over and over again.

Anyway, I tried to get rid of it. I put it out on the driveway, but it couldn't fly. Probably was too small at that time. A couple of birds, probably its parents, dropped by for quite awhile and made lots of noises, but when it got dark they flew away and the little bird was still on the driveway, shivering away because of the cold. So I brought it up to my room, turned the cardboard box of my speakers into a nest, populated it with strips of paper, sacrificed a bottle cap I was saving up to be its drinking water pool and dumped the bird inside. A bit later, the little bird started making pretty noisy chirpy noises, so I shared some of the bread I was having for dinner with it. It couldn't really eat bread as it was, so I had to twist the bread into the shape of a worm and feed it. I also had to take the bottle cap to its beak so that it would drink. It got quiet after awhile, and I went to play some games. As I was going to sleep, it started getting noisy again, so I went to make it more wormbread, but it was reluctant to eat this time. I didn't know what else to do, so I went to sleep. Reluctantly, too. You try going to sleep with a baby crying out for food nearby. Every little chirp twinges on the soul.

Morning came, and the bird was still chirping, but with bigger intervals in between, and much softer. It was getting decidedly weaker, I guess. After some consultation with the old lady who was the landlady's mother ( she lived on the ground floor while us tenants lived a floor above ), I decided to bring the little bird to the tree across the road and leave it in a small alcove in the trunk.

When I came back from class, the little bird was gone. Maybe its parents came for it. Maybe the rubbish man took it home. Maybe a cat had it for lunch. I don't know. Deep inside, I don't want to know. One moment of stupidity - I could have left it in the tree the evening before! - and maybe the little bird's life is forfeited. But the bird was gone. Fini. Now everytime someone talks about pets, the bird - and my folly - comes to mind. Damn that little bird. I didn't ask for its well-being to be dumped on my conscience.

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