Messenger Sparrows

Daddy was always fond of animals. Much to Mommy’s chagrin, he invited stray cats to live in the garage, worried about kittens during storms, fed birds, and made sure we always had dogs for as long as they lived in Manila, hugging them tight during the New Year’s Eve revelry. Whenever they came to visit me, the cats drifted naturally to Daddy and he spoiled them rotten with attention and affection. In fact, he was the one who discovered that my resident feline diva Champagne preferred to drink from the tap rather than a bowl (can’t really fault a snub-nose for preferring this option. When he had his strokes last year and was bedridden, Mommy made sure that Daddy could see the birds from his bed, and he instructed everyone where to feed them. It started with one insistent little sparrow who discovered the handful of rice outside Daddy’s windowsill, who then returned the next day with a friend, and then more and more after that. Mommy dutifully fed them for him, but remained indifferent.

After Daddy died and Mommy moved to her new apartment, the birds were disappointed at the sudden absence of rice. Somehow, one little sparrow found Mommy’s new window and tapped politely. She looked out and smiled, knowing that Daddy must have sent it to her as a love letter with wings from beyond. Admitting that she had missed the twitter after all, Mommy started feeding her little friend. Naturally, he immediately spread the word and within 48 hours there were 10 other birds who joined in. Leftover rice was not a problem and the familiar chatter filled her mornings once again. There were days I would count 15 birds on her windowsill!

When Mommy died, the birds were disconcerted that the twitter account was shut down again. Until yesterday morning. One little sparrow tapped on my window, looking in hopefully. I smiled and knew Mommy and Daddy had sent me a little love note to cheer me up. I had noticed some of them around my bedroom window the past week, and so had the cat, but there was no sill for them lobby on. On a whim, I crumbled up some old bread to test whether my little messenger would find it. I don’t know why I even doubted for a minute that the bread would not be found… my window sill was spic and span this morning.

I offered more bread today, even though I remember Daddy saying that these are Filipino birds who prefer rice. That may be true, but I don’t always have leftover rice on hand like Mommy did, so my twitter account is bread-based. Champagne was happy to report six birds and has taken up post behind the pots to watch the flight traffic.

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