About Nokia

They all had their songs. Capri’s was Mozart’s Sonata in F-major. Benito’s was the wailing fire trucks, his howl low and guttural. Nokia’s was Chopin’s Nocturne in E-Flat. Nokia was a vivid green, and she lived for the sun that overlooks the rich shade. The pet store told us that parakeets could live up to 15 years. At that time, I was reading Tuck Everlasting, and I was thinking about how great it would be to live forever.

But living is simply the absence of death. I remember the frantic call to the emergency vet hotline because her neck was rolling back and forth, the ruffled ridges in her neck showing pink underneath. The woman on the other end of the line was saying to just calm down, there’s no doctor in at this point. My sister was frantic. I was frantic too, and the woman on the phone probably didn’t give a fuck that our bird was dying because Nokia was only a parakeet, but I had to stay strong for my sister, because she was prone to breaking down. In my head, it was Nokia, don’t die, no you can’t die.

The day after Nokia died, my sister had to perform her song– her Chopin Nocturne. Ivory keys colored like bones, I wonder how strange they must have felt under her fingers that night as she froze all emotions for those ten minutes onstage. Maybe she didn’t feel the keys at all. She didn’t make one mistake. I remember when she got home she broke down in her room. I was the one that crawled in under the blanket next to her saying, “It’s okay, everything dies, it’s okay. Birds go up.” What did a kid like me know about death?

All I knew was how to lie on my back. But that night, I was on the bed where I spent a night on my stomach because my hives came up, and my whole back was on fire, and my family was piling ice packs on my back to numb the itch. This is where I came to realize that everything is the same string of vibrations, just intertwined and twisted in different ways. But my memory of Nokia is still her green speckled with yellow, white, and black. Her remarkable tail feathers. And I imagine her, an ordinary parakeet, elegant in flight as she faces the wind of a settling dusk.

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