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06 April 2010 @ 07:55 pm
Aviary | The Bard  
romance, drama.
Rated: R/NC-17

I didn’t speak to Matthew for a few days. Again, I rang my dad to ask if he could keep the kids a bit longer – but this time, he wasn’t so keen on agreeing. He lectured me again, saying that I should also take care of my kids at a time like this.

‘Liam, they keep asking when they can go home – they want their father!’

‘I’m not ready for them yet.’

‘But when will you, Liam – they need you!’

I heard my mother talking in the background and she took over the phone.



‘How are you doing, luv?’

‘I’m fine, mum.’

‘Are you?’

I hesitated for a moment.


‘You don’t know how to handle it, do you?’

‘No – not really.’

She sighed and I knew she didn’t have any advice for me this time.

‘Take your time, luv,’ she said with a comforting voice. ‘Talk to someone who can help you.’

‘Yes, I will,’ I lied. Of course I wasn’t going to see anyone.

‘And come by tomorrow for tea – the kids are dying to see you.’

‘I will,’ I answered and this was not a lie.

And after a few more comforting words from my mum, we hung up the phone. I threw the phone down on the sofa. I was about to sink down on it as well when I noticed Matthew enter the garden. I sat down and watched him go about in the garden. He entered the aviary, and I now noticed he was carrying a book. He sat down in the aviary and opened the book, browsing through the pages and often looking up at the birds.

I watched him for a while as he browsed through the pages of his book until I became curious. I entered the garden and Matthew looked up. It seemed his mood had changed since our last encounter and he smiled broadly at me, making my stomach twist for a moment.

‘What are you doing?’

‘Naming them,’ Matthew answered as he looked back at his book.

‘N-naming them?’

‘Yeah – I will be able to keep them apart and keep an eye on their progress.’


‘Yeah , so I can see which are a pair – I don’t know that yet.’

‘Is it important?’

‘It’s good to know.’

‘I suppose,’ I muttered as I leaned against the fence of the aviary. ‘Are you taking the names from a book?’

He nodded and raised the book so I could read the cover. It said “Defining names from Shakespeare’s plays”.


‘Yes. So far, I named him,’ – he pointed at a blue-base bird which sat in the tree- ‘Lysander. And that one,’ – and he pointed at a bird which was pecking on the floor -, ‘Rosencrantz. And that is Horatio, and that is Bassanio, Othello, Ophelia, Hermia and Julliet.’

I burst out in laughter but when I noticed Matthew was looking at me with a serious face, I only forced myself to smile.

‘I like it,’ and I noticed I smiled at him like I smiled at my children. It felt wrong. ‘But what about Hamlet?’ I asked curiously. I didn’t know much about Shakespeare, but I wanted to show interest.

‘My bird’s name is Hamlet – so I can’t name any of yours Hamlet, can’t I?’

‘No, of course not,’ I said and I grinned.

‘You should teach your males to talk,’ Matthew suddenly changed the subject.


‘The males, you can teach them to talk.’

‘I don’t have time for that,’ I said as I shook my head and I looked at the lad who looked back at me. ‘But if you want to, you can.’

‘Sure,’ Matthew answered, still looking at me.

‘If it’s not too much effort.’

‘It’s not,’ and we were still having eye contact.

‘My kids will love it.’

‘I’m sure they will,’ more eye contact.

I was puzzled why the lad didn’t avert his eyes like he usually did – but he didn’t. It felt as if there was a sort of connection building between us and the stronger it grew, the more he could look at me.

‘I have to go,’ I said as I wanted to break the awkward looks. ‘I have to pick up my kids.’

‘They’re coming back?’ Matthew asked and I nodded.

‘Yes,’ I answered and thought that my father had been right. I needed to have them back at home.

We had eye contact for a bit longer until I turned around and walked back into the house, taking my coat and car keys and drove off to my mum and dad’s place.

‘Darling?!’ my mother exclaimed when I stood on her door step 15 minutes later. ‘You didn’t say you would come now!’

‘I know, - I just – dad’s right. I should take them home.’

‘Are you sure, luv?’ she asked as I kissed her cheek.

‘Yes – dad’s right. I should move on. With them.’

As my kids came running towards me, I saw my father standing in the sitting room. His face looked rather emotionless as he looked at me, but after a while, a broad grin appeared on his face. And also on mine.

‘Are we going home?’ Alfie asked me as he hugged my waist.

‘Yes we are,’ I said as I kissed Abigail on her forehead. ‘Go get your stuff,’ and they rushed upstairs to pack their bag, my mum following them to help them.

‘Everything alright, son?’ my dad asked me as he clapped me on my shoulder. ‘You look dreadful.’

‘I know – it’s tough.’

‘I know,’ he sighed. My dad had been married before he had met my mum. His first wife had died of consumption in the year after they had been married. He met my mum five years later. ‘But you will manage, won’t you? You’ve always been a strong lad.’

‘I hope so, dad,’ I sighed and my kids came rushing down the stairs again. I took the suitcase from my mum and once they’d got their coats on, we s
said goodbye to my parents and drove home.

‘How’s Tabby doing, daddy?’ Abi asked me while we drove home.

‘Good, luv,’ I said. I hadn’t fed him regularly and I think I had only cleaned the litter box once.

‘And the birds?’ Alfie asked and I smile.

‘Good,’ I answered. ‘They’ve got names now.’


‘Yes – I’ve asked someone to take care of them.’

‘Why don’t you do it yourself?’ Alfie asked accusingly.

‘Daddy has to work, Alf,’ I answered. ‘And take care of you now – I won’t have time for that.’

I hoped Alfie understood I wasn’t that much into birds as his mum was.

When we arrived home, I noticed Matthew had gone. This saddened Alfie because I wouldn’t know what their names were. I promised him I would have them written down next time I saw him.

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