Saturday, May 21, 2011


I have even fewer pictures of Malaika than I do of Cinder.

This is because Malaika was nearly always right with me—perching on my hand and putting his head between my fingers and the keyboard, coming down and helping himself to my rice, checking to see if the drink in my cup was more interesting than the water in his dish, or just sitting cuddled up contentedly on my shoulder.

He was bossy, opinionated, adventurous, curious, and careful. If it was new, he wanted to examine it—but only after he’d scouted it out carefully to make sure it wasn’t going to attack. If it was paper, he wanted to shred it—I have books with notch marks on the back covers, thanks to his attention (Only one library book ended up so treated, fortunately. The librarians laughed at the cause, but they also wanted the book replaced).

If it was mine, it was his. We had several discussions about popcorn before he finally realized that, no, I wouldn’t let him sit in the middle of the bowl and hog the whole thing, but I would give him a dish of his own.

If it was loud—so was he.

He spent a lot of time exploring and a lot of time resting (“Lovebirds have two settings,” someone once warned me “Turbo on, and off”). He liked trying to figure out new routes to the bookshelves, but once that was done, he’d go sit on the windowsill in the sunshine, feathers ruffled and relaxed. Or, he’d come sit in my shoulder and cuddle up under my hair.

He was sure that if I was home, his cage door should be open and he should be out. Mostly, I agreed with him, though watching movies with a parrot can be an interesting experience. Malaika was never listening to the same dialog I was, and a surprising number of movies have “background” birdsong.

He was my friend for sixteen years


I miss him.


Edit: I don't know how this will show in feeds, so a short explanation of the back-dated post. Cinder & Malaika died in the same week. Both were old, both were beloved, and it was devastating. I wrote this for Malaika right away, but I didn't feel like posting it here.

Now I want it here, as part of the record.

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