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We All Sing Special Songs for Each Other

·480 words·3 mins

I have my headphones on, listening to music while I write, when I hear a really funky track begin to play over the song. It’s so out of sync it’s a little hip.

A bit avant garde for popular music, I think. More something experimental. The outer limits of jazz or twelve-tone classic music for folks with an awful lot to prove.

And then it hits me. That funky track isn’t on my headphones. I take them off and spin around. Sure enough, my partner is standing in the doorway to my office, with our cockatiel perched on his hand.

Buddy Has Always Overwhelmed Me

Buddy is Mr. Personality. He’s kind of a bully, to be honest. Historically, he’s mean to his cagemates. Bossy. (Although recently our parakeet Galileo has become top in the pecking order, compensating for his small size by a world-class attitude).

Buddy is also bitey to humans. And loud.

Buddy’s always been a bit much for me. I was a little afraid of him when I first moved in with Justin. Bitey, squawking, bully bird.

And for the longest time, Buddy didn’t seem to care for me much either, one way or the other. Didn’t hate me or anything. But didn’t like me, really.

He was instead fixated on our female cockatiel. But then she passed away some years ago, and a curious thing happened. Buddy became obsessed with me.

Yes, really.

He would do anything to be near me. Would call out loudly whenever I was anywhere near him.

We’re not avian psychologists or anything, but our best guess is that when his mate died, he imprinted on the next female life form nearby. That would be me. Lucky (not lucky) me.

It’s sort of cute sometimes. Because it’s flattering that this bird likes me so much. But he’s still really loud and aggressive. So I get overwhelmed easily.

He Sings a Special Song for Me

I rise and walk to my partner. I talk to Buddy, who stops singing and stares at me in rapt fascination.

My partner advises me to stop talking. Stand still. “He’ll sing if you do,” he advises me.

So I do. And just as my partner predicted, Buddy launches into a song. It’s a different song than before. It’s beautiful.

“See?” my partner says. “He sings a special song for you. That’s you. That’s your song.”

“Awww,” I say.

We trade pleasantries. Part ways so the humans can both return to work — and Buddy can return to his cage.

And once they’re both gone, I find myself smiling. Thinking about how relatable that is. How I almost seem to have a different dialect I use to speak to each person I’m close to — different jokes, different subjects, even words and cadences all unique.

Maybe it’s true that we all sing special songs for each other.


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