Dedicated to my magical parakeet, Meg, who passed October 12th. I hope you're happy soaring around in paradise, Meg.
Mama, I'm flying again, so free! I feel so independent! The cage is gone!
Where are you, Mama?
Weren't you holding me in your warm hand just now?
Weren't you looking at me and smiling?
Why was there sadness in your eyes, even though you were smiling? Mama, what happened? Why did saltiness roll down your face and fall into my mouth?
It didn't taste good, Mama. Please don't feed that to me again.
Why was your face twisted in agony?
Why did you disappear?
It's getting cold here, Mama. It's cold, like the time you forgot to bring me close to the heater in the winter night. I remember you held me afterward, Mama. You apologized to me so many times, even though I kept telling you it was fine, and I was fine!
It's okay, Mama, I am fine. I'll keep flying. I'll keep going, and I'll never forget you, okay, Mama? Don't worry about me.
I feel bad, Mama.
I pecked and scratched you so many times. Blood seeped out of your cuts, but you didn't get mad. You smiled and told me not to.
I won't do it anymore, as long as I get to see you again, Mama.
Where am I? The sky is so white, so empty. It doesn't at all look like the sky I stared at through the window of our house. That sky was bright blue, the same color as my feathers. That sky had thick, puffy clouds and sent warmth through the window to me. This sky is cold, not too cold, but it's colder than usual. I miss you, Mama. I miss our house and my cage, and my seeds and my toys and my friend.
I miss your giggles as I smacked against the window, excited to fly around. I miss your warm, soft voice, murmuring beautiful words as you worked. I never knew what those words meant, Mama, but they sounded magical because they came from you.
I even miss when your voice got faster, weaving in and out with your sister's voice until you turned your backs to each other, and Grandma and Grandpa had to sort it out.
I even miss your worried squeals and shouts when I went behind the couch or bookshelves. I miss you scolding me gently for pecking my friends. I miss you reading to me, pronouncing words for me, in high hopes I'd mimic you.
I never could, though, and my words always came out as chirps, and yours didn't.
Mama, I miss your warmth.
Everything about you was warm; your words, sweet like the fruits you put in my cage, your laughs, bouncy like the small rubber balls you brought home from the doctor's, your hands, smooth like my perch, your breaths, light like my feathers, your coffee eyes, hypnotic like the mirror hanging beside me.
I hope you still have your warmth, Mama.
I'll remember it as I travel to my destination. I don't know how, but I know that where I'm going won't be warm. I know it'll be cold and barren and boring and too quiet to be called a real place. I'll keep your warm words and warm laughs and warm hands and warm breaths in mind, Mama.
Mama, I remember I wasn't a good bird.
I hurt you and yelled at you, and I always tricked you by escaping the old black cage after finding a large gap in the wires. I remember you came home, and I was exploring, and I heard you call me, so I answered.
You called me so many times that day, Mama, and I answered every single time. Then you found me, walking around under the bed, and breathed a warm sigh of relief, and picked me up, and put me in my cage.
You brought home a newer, larger, white-and-blue cage a week later. I couldn't find a way to escape from that cage.
It was probably for the best, Mama, wasn't it?
That's right. Mama, you always wanted the best for me. You brought friends so that I wouldn't be lonely. You let me out regularly because you wanted me to have freedom. You always gazed at me with your twinkling, warm coffee eyes, and then Grandma would come in and tell you to focus on your work again.
Your voice was constantly there. You were always in my room, and if not, I heard your voice from the next, and if you were downstairs, I heard your voice echoing through the vents of our house, and if you were in the backyard, I heard your voice from the window, and if you went somewhere, I heard your voice in my head.
I miss your voice a lot, Mama.
There's no one to talk to me here, to bathe me in their warm voice, to look at me and call my name.
I guess, for now, I'll keep listening to your voice in my head. I'll keep listening to you calling my name, whispering secrets to me, repeating your name to me so I could say it myself, you jokingly teaching me how to get food for myself.
Mama, I miss our house. I miss flying around indoors with my friends, and I miss hiding from you, and I miss perching atop the bookshelf or a picture frame. I miss the smell of curry and rice and samosas flitting through the air along with me when Grandma and Grandpa cooked. I miss the scent of the air freshener. I miss the citrus scent of my seeds. I miss the smell of my friends, Mama. When will I see my friends?
Mama, is my friend all alone now? Will I be alone when I reach my destination? There aren't any friends around me, Mama.
Mama, it was so strange when you were looking at the bird wrapped in a tissue and calling it by my name. I chirped for you so many times, Mama! Mama! Mama! But you kept looking at the bird and shouting, Meg! Meg! Meg!
Mama, I'm Meg! Why didn't you look at me? I was right behind you, why didn't you look? I was chirping and chirping!
Now I'm alone, and I'm going to a cold place without you, Mama.
Mama, where are you?