While reading and waiting for the bus back to my accommodation today I heard a soft chirping sound. I looked up and there walking along in front of me was a young bare footed woman sporting a very inventive ‘parrot’ coiffure carrying a tiny fledgling bird on her finger. Before I knew what had happened out of my mouth came the words ‘Can I take a photo of you?’ I so shocked myself, that when she turned to smile and say ‘yes’ it took me a second to respond. She happily posed for the photo and afterward I chatted with her and she told me in a lovely French accent ‘I have jest take zee bird to zee vet and he geeve me zis food to feed it’ and she indicated a syringe in her other hand that was full of what was presumably a formula to feed it.
A young man came along and asked if the bird was ‘real’ which, I must admit, had crossed my mind when I first saw it too. Then he began to tell a story about rescuing a young joey and raising it. (presumably this was before the effects of whatever drugs he was using had addled his brain and made it difficult for him to string a sentence together!) He wanted to hold the bird and then kept kissing it and holding it’s beak with his lips, which went straight from cute to creepy in nanoseconds.
I could see the young woman was not too impressed with this behavior so I quickly tried to think of a story to tell to divert the young man’s attention. Mission accomplished by relating another kangaroo story about the fellow who lives near us in Alice and rescues and rehabilitates joeys. Soon both the young man and the young woman had to move on. Much to my surprise the young man retrieved ‘au revoir’ from his memory banks as he moved away. The young woman waved sweetly to me as she and her friends drove away in their 70’s style mini-van, my day changed for the better.
(The setting for this story is outside Royal Darwin Hospital, after radiation treatment, while waiting… and waiting… and waiting for the bus to transport me back to the medical accommodation in which I was living for the seven week duration of treatment)