How do you catch something that flies, when all you can do is walk? This has always been my fascination as a 7 year old kid. There was always a constant urge in me to run after a butterfly, a grasshopper, or anything with wings. This I often did, never really catching anything, until the day I fell in love with birds.
Birds; feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton that comes in different beautiful colours.
After several unsuccessful attempt to catch a bird, I woke up one Saturday morning, happy I didn’t have to go to school to find a bird seated on the veranda. I opened the door gradually, expecting it to fly away, but it didn’t budge. I immediately knew something was wrong. I knelt down beside it to check for a pulse when it hopped, too weak to runaway. It had orange and green feathers, which I reached out to smoothen. Millicent! Yes, that’s what I would call her. Don’t know how I knew it was a she, I just followed my instincts. I felt like the luckiest kid in the planet, I’ve finally caught a bird without trying, and it wasn’t just any bird, it was a parrot.
For the next few weeks, Milly had me on a whim, I tended to her every needs without any complain. I fed her, nursed her and let her run around in the compound. Despite her freedom, Milly never tried to leave. I don’t know if I was a bad trainer, or Milly experienced some kind of trauma, I never got around to teaching her how to talk. The most she did was to cackle, or nod when she eats, but I couldn’t love her any less. She was so beautiful, interesting and loyal. I knew she would never leave my side. One evening, Milly and I were playing hide and seek in the compound when I heard a knock.
I was towards the back of the house so I didn’t pay any attention to it. Until my mother called for me. “Sharon! Can you come to the living room?” I dropped Milly and ran to meet my mum. “This is our neighbour Mr Abu”, she said it while pointing to the stranger in the living room. “Milicent belongs to him, they have been searching for weeks now, until they decided to ask around the neighbourhood.” Panic started to kick me from my sides before sending blows to my middle. I couldn’t believe it, this impostor wants to take my Milly away.
Tears flowed like the Jordan in our living room. When my sobbing subsided, I went out and brought Milly, then handed her to her owner amidst protest. He grabbed her and left without thanking me for all the love and nurturing I gave to her. I stared after him in disbelief as he made for the door. He turned around stared back at me, I thought he was going to change his mind and give her back to me, but instead he said, “His name is Akpos, and not Millicent.”