I have a confession to make.
The sin has been weighing heavily on my mind for several days now, ever since I committed the deed. The guilt will suffer secrecy no longer. Out with it!
On the way to work a few days ago I ran over a bird.
I have always feared that this tragedy would happen. I’ve heard horrific tales of other people hitting pets, possums and even the odd kangaroo, and I’ve thought to myself, oh god, I hope I never find myself in the driver’s seat of such an unfortunate event.
The BF has warned me that my method of avoiding birds on the road is hazardous at worst and pointless at best. In fact, avoiding is the very thing I’m doing wrong. Whenever I see a bird trotting across the tarmac, I can’t help but swerve in what I believe is an expert manner, hoping to swing around my avian pal or, more ambitiously, allow it to pass unharmed between the wheels of my car.
“Birds aren’t stupid,” says the BF. “They’ll get out of the way before it’s too late. Swinging around will just confuse them!”
But his words fell on unhearing ears.
It’s a sunny, blue day. Cue cute little head-bobbing bird crossing the road. I swing left. It continues to cross. I change my mind and swing right. It has not left the ground. It is too late. I hear a sickening pop. Feathers explode over the bonnet.
I shriek; my heart rate shoots through the roof.
By then it is already over. I’m at the main road, unable to look over my shoulder, wailing disconsolately to myself. Despite my best intentions, the thing I have so valiantly tried to refrain from has come to pass. I am Oedipus. (That’s a joke…)
I am racked with guilt for the poor creature whose life I just ended. I have contributed to roadkill. I am a self-absorbed, petrol-guzzling, twenty-first century consumer. Ugh.
I’ve not had an excellent history with birds. When I was little, I wanted a pet, so we bought an adorable fluffy yellow budgie named Sunshine. She was the cutest puff-ball ever, and I loved her like crazy. But in hindsight we were uneducated pet owners, and this saddens me. I got lazy about letting Sunshine out of the cage every day and playing with her. She bit more and more as she got older. As we’d been taught, we clipped her wings and her tiny pointy toenails. I’m not sure I could keep a bird again. The image of a caged, clipped bird now evokes an exquisite sadness in me.
Twice in my life I’ve been attacked by swooping magpies. Both episodes were traumatic and involved me running, hollering like a madwoman, arms flung over my head. Maybe the bird kingdom is punishing me for my crimes against the U.S.A (United States of Aves).
I never meant to harm, but it seems to be in my nature, in my blood. From this I can only conclude one thing. I must have been a cat in a past life. There is no other rational explanation.
I really hope I was this cat: