My son brought me two budgies several years ago, one yellow, one blue: their names were Gretchen and Gunther. These birds had already had several homes, and nobody knew their age. My general policy is that all pets that come to me get to keep their names, but I made an exception for Gretchen and Gunther. I renamed them Jazz and Tango.
I’ve known for the past month or so that Tango’s days were numbered, as a tumor was growing from under her wing. I hoped her passing would be quick, soon, and painless. I just wanted to wake up one morning and find her on the floor of the cage. And that’s exactly how it happened.
The weird thing is that Tango’s name changed immediately after she died. For some inexplicable reason, her name is now Zelda. Every time I think of her, every time I go to say her name out loud, the name Zelda pops into my head and I have to really struggle to remember that her ‘real’ name was Tango.
I was telling this to Mary-Jane at the party on Thursday and she said, “You never really bonded with her, did you? You’d remember her name if you’d really bonded with her. It’s okay, don’t feel bad, it happens. I never bonded with the cat that ate the budgie after Gussie, and I still can’t remember that cat’s name.”
And then she told me this story about her albino budgie named Gussie that was so tame she could be trusted to fly around freely in the back yard and would always return to her cage. Then one day Gussie got scared by a dog and her tail feathers came off and she got lost in the Glebe for five days without any tail feathers, and at the very same time another albino budgie was also lost in the Glebe, causing great confusion for everybody concerned! But that’s a whole other story. It was the budgie after Gussie that got eaten by the nameless cat that Mary-Jane couldn’t bond with.