Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Pet cemetery

Yesterday morning Marlo was desperate to play outside, so I told her she could head to the garage while I pulled back my hair and grabbed my shoes. She was so impatient, however, that by the time I had found a rubber band for a ponytail she had activated the garage door opener as was out on the driveway. I found her lying on her stomach on the concrete, her head perched in her hands like some lovesick teenager daydreaming on her bed about the boy in her algebra class.

I hope Marlo takes algebra. Outside of a juvenile detention facility.

I asked her what on earth she was doing down there, and she lifted her head so that she could use her right arm to point straight ahead. “A BIRD! ITHS A BIRD!”

I had to walk a few feet to see around the corner, and then I saw what she was talking about. And lo, she was not making this shit up.

Seriously? Not again.

“ITHS SO PRETTY!” she squealed, and all I could think about was PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me you did not touch it tell me you did not touch it tell me you did not touch it. Although, if that bird’s Mama had been there, it would have been thinking the same thing about Marlo. You have no idea where THAT kid has been. Cooties are totally contagious, people.

I pulled her away from the scene because I knew how this was going to end. If I could get that close to the bird without it moving a single centimeter, something was horribly wrong. And I didn’t want my little animal lover to witness the bird’s inevitable death right there next to the house. Which is exactly what happened not even an hour later. Excuse me, but what the fuck.

Another bird chose to spend its last hours nestled by the side of my house. I did not take a picture of its deceased body out of some crazy sense of respect? Is that a thing? Respect for a dead bird? Because I experienced that undeniable pang in my chest when I saw it lying there, its chest compressed and no longer filled with air. I was happy that it had found a safe place to go.

Marlo’s memory will be of a plump, rust-colored bird sitting placidly by the side of her house. And when we talk about it we’ll make up stories about the many flights it took over the backyard and how magnificent the view must be from the sky.

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