RIP Nisha


Some of the sweet memories of Nisha.


A few days ago on a beautiful Saturday morning, my son announced that Nisha our pet scale-breasted lorikeet had died. I had just woken up. I did not believe Nathan.

Nisha was a talkative little thing, just three-four inches tall and an inch and a half wide if you were to measure her.  Her body was tiny enough to fit through a thump and a pointer when you made a ring with your fingers. We often played this game where I would make a ring with these two fingers and she would climb though that ring.

Nisha loved to be held close. From the beginning when her parents would visit her on our veranda, she would snuggle up close after they deposit her meals.

My son Nathan(18) had found Nisha dead on the floor that morning. Nathan wrapped her and waited for me to wake.

“What happened?” was my initially reaction thinking that something killed her.  Immediately I was suspicious of our Rainbow lorikeet “Kaz” who was bigger and stronger and quite capable of harming Nisha.

“I don’t know” was only what Nathan could say. Nisha had died at night. Her tiny feathered body was too stiff. I examined her and saw some scratches but it was not easy to determine the cause of death.  She had some scab on her neck but I don’t think it was a tick. I could not tell.

I was deeply saddened and after re-wrapping Nisha, I held her for a while and then placed her in a quiet place for Nathan to bury her. I could not bury Nisha myself.

I took my coffee outside and sat on our back steps; a place where I always found comfort.  Here, I could look out to the bush. I could also see and hear the birds. It always reminded me of ‘home’, especially the bush I grew up in, in Papua New Guinea.

Nathan said before I woke up, Kaz, the other lorikeet apparently had became very vocal that morning and behaved wildly when Nathan picked up Nisha’s body from the floor. Kaz flew into the glass wall and may have hurt himself. Jaz then flew aimlessly across the living room a few times before he exited through the back door. He would be gone for two days straight as we found out.

The two lorikeets had become very close. But two weeks ago, Kaz had started flying properly and often would disappeared into the wild,  joining other lorikeets. At the same time, our pet duckling who had survived the snake attack last month, also flew away with the visiting flock. I wondered if Nisha died of heartbreak. Nisha had become very moody and often she would bite when we took her outside to play. Both lorikeets lived on-top of the cage – not IN the cage, so they could go anywhere any time.

The idea was that the birds had come from the wild. They had fallen out of their nests and we saved them so when they were strong and fit to return, they would go back to the wild.

For Nisha, we had hoped she would blossom and fly away. It was not to be. Nisha never grew her wings strong enough to fly, like Kaz. Nisha lost a lot of feathers. The new feathers did not grow. But all these last two months Nisha continued to be happy and talkative voice. She would walk across the living room to the music speakers and hang out. Often she would cross over to the edge of the fish tanks and watch the fish, while kicking all their food onto the floor. And she was always up for a cuddle.

Whatever happened to her that night, we will never know. Nathan burried Nisha next to the duckling in my pineapple.  Today, I was startled by the cry of a scale-breasted lorikeet right near my window at work. I looked at her. It was not Nisha. RIP Nisha.




Where My Eyes Are From

Where My Eyes Are From


I turned to face the door and sat down in the centre edge. It was the softest part of mama’s large queen-size bed. I ran my large grey eyes over the bed. Papa had built this bed. The bed was rustic but sturdy. Because of the many years in the timbers, the bed talks like an old man when you are on it. Right now, the bed is not talking because I am not moving. The white cotton sheets were crumply and warm. I wanted to climb into the sheets but I could not.

We had buried mama at 3pm. The day had been long and tiring.

The few friends and family returned to our small two bedroom cottage on the edge of town in the hills of Mt Crosby. The offering of sweet tea and cake to the mourners wrapped the day. However, the sweet tea did not change the taste in my mouth. Soon, they left papa and me. We sat together on the small veranda and did not speak. At 15, I knew half of papa was buried with mama this afternoon.

The day hurried passed. Soon, it burnt orangey into dusk. The ambers from the remains of the daylight pierced through the small cottage.

“You can go to her room” Papa had said close to 5pm.

I saw the small clock on mama’s bedside as I sat down. Mama’s room smelt like Vanilla with faint coffee. I had tried to shut out the noises with the door, but I could hear the puppies. All five of them ready for their milk. They needed their mother. A sharp pain went through me.

My hand felt under the pillow slip and I found it. The small white envelope mama promised before she took her last breath. I gazed back at the door. I waited. My heart started to race.

Through the gaps in the window I caught the late breeze approaching carrying bush smells of Gum and Acacia. I could hear my father humming “Gershwin’s Summer Time” and rocking in the old chair. The chair squeak was rhythmic and soothing. It re-assured me of his location. I did not want him to come in.

The house seemed to mimic Papa’s humming and suddenly I felt the sadness heavy in my chest. Papa was a real sweet man. Not only did he lose his woman, but his best friend.

I sat still and held mama’s envelop; firmed by the content of its small card. In this envelope was something mama wanted only me to know. My stomach did not feel right and I knew it was something I do not wish to know.

The room held on to the last of day light. In this dim light I read my name written neatly across with dainty curls. Mama always made a point of making big long tails in letters ‘y’ and “g”.  My name was Margaret Meadows. Mama shortened it to “Maggy” with a “y” instead of an “ie” like in other Margies which was short for Margaret.

I brought the card closer to my nose. It smelt of Vanilla too. This made me smile and my eyes salted. I felt that weight in my chest move up to choke me. I looked at mama’s photo of us in a white frame by the bed. Tears rolled down my eyes. Slowly, I pinched the corner of the white envelop and slit the end through with my index finger. This forced the white envelope open to reveal a small red card.

I eased back on the bed. I felt I needed some support and security before I opened the red card. I let my shoes drop on the wooden floor. I starred at the door; hoping papa would not come in. I need to be alone when I read this. That was what mama wanted.

“My Love Maggy,

You were born a beautiful baby of glorious soft honey skin, pink lips, fair hair and long legs and arms. You were a fairy with piercing eyes. I swear if you had had wings, you would have flown away. Your eyes were a mysterious twinkle to your father and me. When you were little I had wondered if you were worried or just curious about your eyes because you asked me many times why your eyes were different from your father’s and mine. As you know, we both have brown eyes.

I need you to understand that Paul Meadows loves you like his own daughter. There is not a single person that loves you more and not a single reason to be ashamed of who you are.

Your grey eyes came from a man named Peter Sullivan who was once your father Paul’s best friend. Last year, I found out that he died in a car accident while driving back to Brisbane.”