Budgie had a sunny disposition, even in death

2014-06-22 06:00

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It’s embarrassing to tell people you have a budgie. It’s even more embarrassing to admit that you’re very sad when it dies.

This week, Budgie took a hike off the cosmic pumpkin/departed for good/succumbed to the lure of the white light.

He was acting weird on Sunday night, so I took him out of his cage. We chilled some: me on my belly, him pecking seeds off the small prayer rug from Oman. We were just chilling you know, hanging. We spoke of the political situation (desperate as usual) and gossiped about the cat (what a loser). “What is your name, and may I say it?” I asked Budgie. He winked. He had a strange sense of humour, that guy.

The next morning Budgie was sleeping the neverending snooze. He was having a little catnap – but with feathers instead of fur, never to wake up again.

He was lying with shut eyes on the Van Gogh serviette I’d put at the bottom of his cage, bright sunflowers swirled around him. Budgie always had a sunny disposition, even in death.

The sadness was swift. His absence left an upsized void that lurked like a white elephant in the room. I needed to listen to Daft Punk right then – which is odd, as I never do.

We all know that music is best consumed on the road, so I aimed the Clio-patra at mountains as rain pelted the glass. We snaked around autumn-tinged vineyards outside Stellenbosch, the Clio-patra and I. We drove up the Helshoogte Pass, and down again, past the Hillcrest Berry Farm to the small cluster of Pniel, where a roadside cemetery compelled us to pull over, next to a white Tazz.

The Tazz belonged to a couple, who were leaning over a grave. We exchanged “hi’s”; around us clouds and tree limbs shivered, on slabs of polished granite rested flowers in various phases of decay.

The couple were visiting a friend who passed away in 2002. I asked if I may take their picture, they said sure. They were laughing and jovial; taking a merry jog down memory lane with Wille Williams (29.10.38 – 03.08.92).

Not everyone can claim they were named after a grave. Well. I can.

Approximately 33 years ago during a visit to her in-laws in Port Elizabeth, my mother went for a stroll that led past an old cemetery for French immigrants. One grave marked the passing of a “Biénne”. My mother, 22 years old and heavily pregnant at the time, decided to name her unborn daughter thus.

I buried Budgie wrapped in his sunflower serviette in a small box in a flower bed on a grassy knoll in Green Point. The view up there really is to die for; should there be an afterlife, I’d bet Budgie stopped to gaze upon ships sailing by before zapping off to the great, green pasture in the sky.

Those who consider it unAfrican to pamper dogs may deem it unHuman to mourn a birdie’s passing. Oh, well. I figure: when dishing out kindness and compassion, why omit those born without opposable thumbs? That’s just speciesism, man.

Budgie shared seven years of my life. That’s longer than most marriages these days. Gandhi once said the greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its animals.

» This blog post is an ode to Budgie. Say goodbye to my little friend x

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