Socially Unacceptable Post 62: Trouble

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm

–Emily Dickinson

One of the chickens was killed by a kestrel. I knew that the chickens mean so much to Marie, but I didn’t realize how much they had already come to mean to me. The anger and sadness that I felt was not just Marie’s, not just courtesy my empathy link. I was angry. I was sad.

I get attached quickly, and deeply. I don’t know much about chickens. Unlike Marie, I did not grow up with them. I had always regarded them warily, like I regard most animals. But I grew to trust these chickens, and like them. I especially like the contentedness that radiates off them most of the time, their innate curiosity, their diverse personalities.

I know that Marie was miserable when she had to live in Tampa, when her neighbors reported her family for having chickens. “Chickens” is a part of her personality, like being a writer. The good thing about where she lives now is that she can have chickens without being afraid of being reported.

Chickens are underappreciated. When everyone talks about pets, they are usually talking about their fur babies, their dogs and their cats. For some reason, there’s almost a stereotype for chickens. That they are too noisy. That they are livestock that belong on a huge farm or on the table. But they are beautiful, unique, and fucking adorable. I know kittens are cute, but have you ever heard a baby rooster crow? My god.

Trouble was one of the Polish girls. Marie said that in chicken years, she would be in her 90s. She was very talkative and liked spending a lot of time indoors while the other chickens roamed around. She was black with a crest of white feathers on her head.

Marie said I could go inside while she moved Trouble’s body. She said I had seen enough corpses. And with the Otherworld, that is true. But I wanted to be there. Maybe I don’t deserve to be a part of that funeral procession, since I have only known Trouble for two months. But just because I have seen corpses enough, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to be there. To say goodbye. And to be there for Marie, too.

Somehow, I am still always surprised when I see corpses. The bodies that had been so full of life not so long before, motionless and cold. The bundle of emotions just an empty blank.

But even though the images of the dead tend to get seared in my memory, that does not mean I don’t remember the good moments. Saying hi to Trouble because she liked to huddle near the garage door. Listening to her excited chatter.

I am happy that I got to meet Trouble, even if it was just a short time. And I wish that I had been able to stop that kestrel. Usually I can feel emotions like fear in the people or animals around me, but I did not sense it this time. And I am sorry for that.

You might think I am being a little dramatic about an animal that few would regard as an appropriate pet. But every life is valuable, regardless of how it is regarded by society. Besides, everyone thinks empaths are dramatic.

Goodbye Trouble. You will be missed.

Post 62 in Socially Unacceptable: The Daily Life of a Queer Schizophrenic Wreck (2022)

This is an autobiographical series about my life, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I intend to add new content daily.

For the whole series, follow this link.

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