Friday 21 Oct 2016

M Alan Roberts

In June 2009, Gabby, an African Gray parrot and constant companion of Alan Roberts, was mauled by a dog. Shortly afterward, Roberts wrote a moving story about Gabby and her place in his life. Grub Street delayed publishing the story of Gabby, fearing the importance and significance of her life would be lost in the flurry of celebrity passings, at the time.

Five days ago, my 10 year old daughter was mauled, to death, by a dog. Id like to take this time to memorialize her.

From as far back as I can remember, she was always such a vibrant part of everyday life. Every day would begin and end enjoying her company, making sure she had what she needed, delighting in her joking and laughter and just being thankful for the wonderful energy that she created for everyone to benefit from. She wasn't what you would call a normal little girl.

She had problems pronouncing certain words. She could definitely be hyperactive, especially first thing in the morning. Sometimes she would make awful sounds purposefully seemingly just to be irritating. When she walked, she demonstrated a strange gape. She didn't make friends very well, either. In fact, outside of our home, she had no friends at all. And, if she didn't know a person, especially if that person was a female, she had a tendency to bite.

Besides all of her shortcomings, she was stunningly beautiful, full of life and most probably smarter than everybody around her. She was super intelligent! She always had big dreams too. Even though she couldn't talk very well, she had her ways of telling me about her dreams. She always wanted to be a flier. She would lift her arms up and lower them back down again repetitively. She wanted to take off into the atmosphere; she wanted to be airborne. And it was always my intention to allow her to fly. But in the end, there just wasn't enough time.

She liked to eat a lot of things that other girls her age wouldn't. For instance, her eyes would light up and she would make funny sounds if I gave her just the smallest bite of a jalapeno pepper. Some people thought that I was being cruel to her to feed her the fiery morsels, but she always accepted them if I held them close to her mouth. And when she ate spaghetti with marinara sauce, no matter how careful she would be, it would end up all over her face. She would have red sauce from the top of her neck clear up almost to her eyes. And it seemed to delight her endlessly. Unlike a lot of 10 year old girls, she absolutely loved water. In fact, I don't remember ever seeing her drink anything except water.

I remember one of her favourite things to do was to throw her voice at unsuspecting guests. She would always come up with something strange to say, or make a stirring sound that they couldn't place. She got a kick out of confusing people making them wonder. I think she liked that split second when their eyes would show that they were perplexed. She would laugh at them and then they would know it was her. She was so skilled at it that many times they would seem relieved when they discovered her as if they were on the verge of insanity just seconds before trying to figure out what was going on.

She could not be left alone outside. It was too dangerous for her. Her mother or I would always have to be right near her. She was far too precious to leave unattended and we always made it a distinct point to keep her very safe. For some reason, stray cats were drawn to her. They didn't want her to pet them though; it seemed more like they wanted to attack her.

Some people thought that there was an element of evil about Gabby. They didn't understand her. That's why most of the time we just kept her inside the house with us.

I always thought she would live to be 70 years old or so like most do. By any rational account, she was supposed to outlive her mother and me. Never would I have believed that she would leave this life after just one decade. And never could I imagine such a horrible death to be bestowed upon such a beautiful young lady. Things like this make me wonder about the foundations of religious thought, justice and if there's even any reward whatsoever for trying to live a decent and non-harmful life.

My daughters name was Gabby. It was not short for Gabriel, just Gabby. And how fitting a name it was for her! She was working on her speech every day, all day long. She would try so hard to make and stay in contact, efficiently, yet sometimes she had great difficulties expressing herself adequately. Still, I always said that she was smarter than all of the humans, and animals, in the house put together.

Five days ago, my 10 year old daughter was mauled to death by a dog. It happened far too quickly for anybody to be able to stop it. She died in her 15 year old brothers arms. She was a beautiful African Gray parrot. To her family, she will always be the finest flier ever. And life for the rest of us will be lessened without her splendid, funny-beaked friendship.

Fly high and free now, my daughter.

M Alan Roberts is a radical thinker. He has a gimlet eye for injustice, much as did Frederich Engels, a century and a half before. Still, Roberts finds a way to write effective SEO copy. This suggests both sides of his brain, his mind, work equally well.

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