Guys, this is terrible, but I feel like you deserve to know. I respect you all so much that I can’t keep you under the ignorant wing of innocence any longer.
After the chill cake was finished, we all waited for Aruki to come home so that we could divide it up and feast upon its innards, like a Wedge Tailed Eagle with a dead kangaroo. One by one my Diggers succumbed to fatigue, took of their white Ornithologist sweaters and went to bed. But I couldn’t join them. Something told me that my life was going to fall apart like a trout in the claws of a bald eagle in flight, and that my world would never be the same as it had been. Was it a rebirth, or an early, painful, emotional massacre? I didn’t know, so I kept my position on the deck, looking out over the darkening moors, my hand still clutching the cake whisk, positioned over the cake I had made for one bird in my life: Aruki.
HES DEAD. HE’S DEAD! HE’SB DETAD! OH MY GOD, KILL ME! ARUKI! NO! WHY?!
These are the cries my Diggers awoke to at 6am, roughly transcribed by Denise, my new secretary (she’s good, on the ball, I respect that, especially in a woman). Lying on the lawn, his face hidden by the merciful frond of a fern, only metres from where I had held my overnight vigil, was the still, cold form of a familiar cassowary. The lifeless body of my only true friend.
Now, weeks later, I can only hypothesise that he had been fighting illness for some time now, but was unable to admit it to me. Instead he chose to combat its steady onslaught alone, bravely, but with ultimately no success. Perhaps we can draw from this that his previous wanderings (see my last few posts, Diggers) had been attempts for him to slip away quietly. But time and time again I interrupted him. Me, the hopelessly loyal, pathetically clingy Ornithology “expert”, who couldn’t even see the warning signs of the slow swing of the sickle of death over my friend’s crest.
My devastation has subsided, however, like the rage of a magpie when children have stopped throwing rocks at its nest. I feel pain, but I also remember the great times we had, from the moment his tiny beak pecked through his shell and his tiny eye peered into my own, six-year-old face, to that final night in the jungle, humming his favourite Iggy tunes until the sun came up over the trees, and, together, wing in hand, we walked home.
I intend to compose a song that accurately expresses my emotions (an original), and include it on my still-upcoming “Pornithology” album.
Aruks, this post is for you. Stay proud, and I will see you one day, in valhalla.
Stay strong, Diggers; we can get through this.
Digby “Common” Poorwill