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06 April 2010 @ 07:53 pm
Aviary | Melopsittacus undulates  
romance, drama.
Rated: R/NC-17

My wife kept a small aviary in the garden. She liked birds. I actually met her in an aviary. She was working for Avi-culture in a zoo – where I went to have lunch with my business partners. While we were discussing some workers transfers, I spotted a woman in one of the aviaries. I don’t know what made me go over to the fence and look at her working, but when she noticed me she looked up. We looked at each other and I fell in love with her right on the spot. A budgerigar landed on her shoulder and started to nibble her blonde hair.

It was budgies she kept in the aviary in our garden. It was her work, life and hobby. I worked from 9 til 5, and she took care of the children and her birds all day. I always thought there were only three things she loved in the entire world: Me, the kids and her birds.

We had ten of them. Melopsittacus undulatus. White-based, yellow-based and the mixes between those colours. She spent most of her time when she didn’t have to take care of the kids with the birds, no matter what the weather was like. She would sit in the cage, talking to her birds.

I never really understood her hobby. The birds were adorable, but it wasn’t really my thing. But I loved my wife and so I let her continue her hobby. And the kids liked looking at the birds as well. She could spend hours talking about them – but it never really interested me.

I had built the aviary when we bought this house. I built it with wood and chicken wire. There was a small tree growing in the aviary in which the birds sat, slept and nested.

It all happened so suddenly. I got a call at my work from the police. She was dead. She’d had a cerebral infarct and hadn’t woken up by herself. Mr Tan from next door had spotted her through the garden fence. She had been lying in the aviary and hadn’t responded to his calls. He had climbed over the fence and found her dead. No one had been able to help her when she had the stroke.

So I found myself home alone a few days after her death. The kids were staying at my parents, and I needed time to sort things out. I needed to take care of the funeral and myself. While going through the leaflet of our life insurance, I let myself go and cried for the next few hours. But I forced myself to stop when someone rang the bell.

I wiped my face and went to open the door. When I did, I found a young man standing on my doorstep.

‘Hello?’ I said with a hollow voice. ‘Can I help you?’

'You have a dead bird in your aviary,’ the lad said and pointed his finger at the aviary in the garden behind me.

‘I-I, what?’ I asked in confusion, not noticing that I still had red eyes.

‘In your aviary – dead bird,’ the lad repeated and I noticed he never looked me in the eyes.

‘Oh, dead?’ I asked as if I didn’t seem to understand him.

‘Yes. Dead.’

‘Oh, er,’ I started, not knowing what to do now. I had never really taken care of those birds – it had always been Valerie. ‘I-I, my wife, she’d always – erm,’ I began to feel uncomfortable. I hadn’t thought about the aviary yet! Would I have to take care of them from now on?

I looked at the lad and slowly, I began to realize who he was.

‘You’re Matthew from across the street, aren’t you?’ I asked.

‘Yes, I am, sir.’

‘Yes, Val – my – my wife mentioned you before.’

‘I often come to look at the aviary sir – I like budgies. I have one myself, you see!’ and he spoke with high enthusiasm and it seemed he finally found the courage to look at me.

‘Ah – right,’ I spoke. ‘Okay –well, er – would you mind getting it out? You see, my-my wife, she – er – the aviary was hers and she – er,’

‘Oh, I see,’ the boy said, nodding as he averted his eyes again. ‘So it was here, right? I saw the hearse last week.’

‘Y-yes,’ I said and shook my head slightly.

‘Oh,’ was all he said, followed by a short silence.

‘Yes, well – thank you,’ I spoke and I was about to close the door until he spoke again:

‘Do you want me to get it out for you?’

‘What?’ I asked, confused again.

‘The dead budgie. Do you want me to take it out for you?’

‘Oh, yes!’ I exclaimed. ‘Yes, please. I-I, er – I wouldn’t know how.’

‘Just chuck it in the bin,’ he said as I stepped aside to let him in.

‘R-Really?’ I asked a bit confused. I didn’t know what Valerie always did with dead birds, so I was a bit surprised about chucking one of her beloved birds in the bin.

‘Yes – or – do you want me to bury it?’ he asked as he wiped his feet before he went further.

‘I-I’m not sure,’ I admitted as I went over to the back door.

‘I’d like to bury it,’ the boy muttered and I noticed he didn’t look at me.

It was here that I noticed there was something wrong with this boy. How old was he? He acted a little odd.


‘Your wife buried them in the park.’

‘She what?’ I exclaimed as I turned to look at the lad.

‘I saw her – a few times,’ he admitted.

I paused for a moment as I examined the lad.

‘Were you spying on my wife?’

‘N-No!’ he said at once, his eyes finding mine again. I wouldn’t think he would lie to me when he finally was able to look at me. ‘No – I go to the park a lot!’

‘Right,’ I muttered and I opened the door and stepped into the garden and he followed me. ‘Er-,’ I stuttered as we reached the aviary. The budgies were chirping and chattering loudly and fluttering around.

Valerie always kept the key underneath a pot next to the aviary, so I moved it and took the key. I opened the padlock and opened the door of the aviary. I stepped aside and the lad squeezed himself past me into the aviary.

There indeed was a dead budgie on the floor. It was a yellow-based one and I recognized it as one of the first birds we had kept.

‘Must have been old age,’ I said as I watched the lad pick up the bird with his bare hands. I cringed. I would never pick up a dead animal with my bare hands.

‘She was old – yes,’ Parker said as he looked at the bird and get back on full length.

‘How – how do you see that?’ I asked.

‘The beak is brown – male’s are blue.’

‘Ah,’ was all I said – I’d never been interested in the birds.

‘Do you have a shovel?’ Parker asked as he looks around the aviary, the birds fluttering around him and shrieking with panic.

‘Yes,’ I said as I opened the door of the shed and took a trowel from the shelve. I returned to the aviary and stopped as I saw Parker in the aviary, looking around and standing a bit crouched to prevent his head from hitting the bird houses that hung close to the ceiling.

I can now say that I fell in love with him right there and then.

Prologue | Melopsittacus undulates | Matthew Parker | Ethanol | The Bard | Stop