The Triumph of Little Mel
Poor sweet thing can’t fly and is cowering in the corner of the fence. The cat will kill him. The other birds will kill him. He’ll starve. He is terrified. He has only stubs of wings and no tail feathers. He is a mutant. He is sick. He will be dead soon, surely.
(Cat approaches, stealth mode. She swipes; the bird protests, LOUDLY. She stops. She stares. She walks away. Later, she approaches again, on short legs. She does not even get within swiping distance before standing and walking away.)
Can you believe it? He is still alive, standing defiantly in the dunny. No way. I can’t bear to see it. Surely it will die tonight. I’ve given it some seed. What do they eat? Dunno. Poor thing.
I helped him over to the tree – he was halfway across the yard. He’s started climbing.
He is nowhere to be seen. He made it?
Look! (A bird flies off.) Not him. Where is he?
Back in the woodpile, on a branch.
That’s where he likes to be. Now I can look more closely. A perfect little lorikeet – except for a few things. But tons of attitude.
Still walking his branch. The cat will not go near. I bring seed, which brings a huge outcry and flapping and running away. I apologize and leave the seed. Time passes; he is closer to his low perch, but still amongst the garden rubble. More time passes. He is back pacing his perch. Alive.
I dub thee Melville and I salute you in your triumph.
That’s it. The special food for lorikeets needs a special bowl and a special drive to the special pet food store, but it is done. Melville tells me in no uncertain terms (attacking the approaching bowl and running through it), PISS OFF! The bowl remains.
There is a new sound and it hurts to hear it. Adult lorikeets come and eat. One is sharing with Little Mel. But when it leaves, there is this new sound.
Little Mel fell into the grass bin and can’t get out. The food bowl follows him in. He is not happy. One third of the food spills on him as he runs through the bowl to kill my hand.
An escape route from the bin is provided.
“I like my new home on the perch with my food and friends and don’t care as much about their approach.” The cat is curious, but is not allowed. The book says the color of the beak is immature. And damn, Little Mel is still alive. Cutie.
Still here. Slugs like the food a little too much, so it gets salted. Check out the beak. Like its new color? Tinged with orange. A very good sign.
No slugs. A surrogate mommy loves Little Mel and is spied sharing the food with him. Joy.
Little Mel lives.
Mel is sleeping this morning, in the rain. No point putting out a bowl for slugs to swim in.
But now, at the end of the 11th day, Mel has gone away.
“Kiss the joy as it flies.”
I dream, one day, of Mel in the skies.
A ruckus in the rain…and that painful sound. It’s Mel! – having a flying lesson in the tree, a watchful adult chirping encouragement. He clamors. I retreat. He falls out of the tree, all tumbles and turns. He climbs back up.