I had a bird once. The "Easter Bunny" brought it to my father's work one day for me, sometime around the same year I was given African Frogs and a Golden retriever.
It seemed the Easter Bunny wanted to buy my affection.
I remember standing at the top of the stairs in the hallway of my childhood watching my father clumsily open the door with the cage. I couldn't see what was in it, but I knew it was for me.
As it turned out, the Easter Bunny did not consult my mother and so its first night in its new home was spent listening to a husband and wife argue over the Easter Bunnies judgment.
I knew why the caged bird sang well before Maya did. It was to drown out the sound of anger, of confusion, and of loneliness.
I didn't like the bird much, though it was pretty enough, with its turquoise and green feathers and yellow tipped tail. It made more noise than it was worth, and I remember laying in my pink canopy bed wide awake, silently crying because I couldn't sleep-a caged bird in my own right, who had not yet found her voice.
Memories of a 3 year old bird keeper are harder to recall, so I can't be certain how long it was a part of my life. I don't even remember if I named it; though it would have been odd that I didn't.
I can't remember why we went away; we couldn't afford trips back then, and everyone we knew lived within a block of our terra cotta stucco 2-family house.
But what I can remember is that my Easter bird was murdered.
One of my father's friends was commissioned to watch the bird while we were away. When we got back, I knocked on the door, eager to get my bird and leave. I remember standing on my tip toes; my Buster Browns squeaking as I strained to see past the friend.
What I saw were the stiff feathers, the straight legs...what I heard was...nothing. The bird was dead. I don't believe my father planned it; the sound of his voice told me that he was angry at his friend for forgetting to feed it, and for leaving it in the cage in plain sight for me to see.
Like I said, I was not particularly fond of the bird, or at least I don't think I was. But to this day, I can still remember the horrible feeling I got seeing something that was mine destroyed, and knowing that it was due to someone else's lack of compassion and responsibility. And I was only 3 or 4.
Sometimes I wonder if that incident is the reason why one of my biggest pet peeves is people who are inconsiderate and irresponsible, especially with other people's things.
Amazing how certain things stick with you...