One of my favorite songs of all time is People by Barbra Streisand (if you're reading this and don't know me Babs is my be all to end all...and I may or may not wear a necklace of her around my neck...) but one lyric that always gets me is "people, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world".
I've never found truth in that lyric.
My best friend is quite small. She weighs a pound soaking wet, and has feathers. Her name is Effie.
Effie is a cockatiel. We had a rough start.
I acquired Effie right before I couldn't speak from the radiation. She had been neglected and abused by the pet store I had gotten her from.
I had wanted another cockatiel when my beloved Tila passed away. She was the birds of all birds. She was ridiculously tame and I had her for 6 years. To make a long sorrowful story short Tila held on until after I had the operation to remove a portion of my tongue to get the cancerous tumor. We knew her death was coming as she had started laying eggs for no reason at alarming rate and got egg bound (an egg had gotten stuck and at that point there's virtually nothing that anyone can do)
Then I got Effie. A few days after I got her I could no longer speak as the entire inside of my mouth was burned and I had to hold what is called Magic Mouthwash in my mouth all day with every kind of numbing agent available in it. That and I was on every kind of pain killer and sedation drug one could be prescribed.
Everyday for 5 months I'd go over to Effie's open cage and try to coax her out to no avail. I knew she wouldn't be anything like Tila. Tila was use to be handled and surrounded by people before I got her. But I had no idea I had acquired a larger version of parakeet.
But everyday I'd get up and just sit next to her cage. Door open, just like with Tila because I believe if you're going to own a bird it shouldn't be in a cage unless it's absolutely neccisiairy. Just at bed time.
She made no attempts to leave her cage and made it clear she wanted nothing to do with me.
But for 5 months I'd go over to her cage and towards the end of my forced 5 month silence I thought to myself "this fucking bird! I rescue her and she won't even fly around the room!" This is where her name came from, Effie.
There were so many things I was looking forward to that I had done with my beloved Tila. Like teaching her to fly because they clip their wings. Teaching Tila to fly is still one of my fondest memories. The day she finally got the hang of it I never felt prouder.
But much like myself Effie had to do it all on her own.
Well one day I had taken one too many pain killers and began vomiting. And naturally when you're vomiting you can't hold anything in your mouth. It was threw this accidental mini overdose that I discovered I didn't need the magic mouth wash. My mouth was no longer a constant fire ball. So I said the same thing I said when my tongue healed. "Hello". And in that very moment Effie flew out of her cage and landed on my shoulder and has tried to stay there ever since...even when I have to go to work.
Effie and I are a lot alike. We don't trust or love a lot of people and emotion and touching and just about everything has to be on our terms. But we love each other. Just exactly for who we are.
I'll never forget coming home from my first day back at the hellish daycare I worked at. It had been a horrible day. They gave me no time to adjust, treated me as if I was good as new and I wasn't. Saying some words was still hard as I hadn't used my tongue for almost half a year. I was weak. They didn't care. Now if I had been pregnant I wouldn't have gotten treated like a porcelain doll of extreme value but last time I checked pregnancy usually isn't terminal and may be painful but usually just uncomfortable and doesn't hold a candle to the hell I went through.
I sat on my bed and just cried. Effie flew out of her cage, sat next to me, looked up at me with those warm black eyes and said "hello?". She hopped up on my shoulder and nuzzled me.
This small winged creature has been more humane to me than 99% of the people I've come across.
She's my best friend. I love her unconditionally and she me. If it hadn't been for her friendship and company during my recovery from the treatment and easing back into the world I don't know if I would've made it. Effie and my mom have always loved me and been there for me. Something no one else has ever done or even tried to.