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Dear Steve

by Brave Duck about a year ago in bird
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I'm learning to love again

Dear Steve, I miss you too much

Dear Steve,

My dear sweet baby boy. I woke up late today and I went outside and for a second I expected to hear your voice. Actually I expect to hear your voice everyday and then it hits me.

I miss your goofy ways and your incredibly loud noises in the morning. You made sure I got out of bed early every day and your happy little face was always the best start to my day.

I miss the sound of your cute little eager feet tapping behind me everywhere I go. You were my little partner in crime and I could swear it was you who was leading me the whole time.

I miss the way you sat next to the backyard door, always waiting for me to come out again. Your love and trust in me kept me brave and humble.

I miss the way you climbed on my lap and fell asleep. I was always at peace knowing you’re by my side, loving me unconditionally.

Dear Steve,

Your wife and son miss you. I was watching a video of you in the backyard and they came charging towards me when they heard your quacks. It may have been the food in my hand.

There’s also duck at the park that looks and sounds almost like you. Is it weird that I hang out with him more than your family? But don’t worry he doesn’t have your charm. There’s only one Steve in this whole universe.

Dear Steve,

I have to admit something. Since you’ve been gone I’ve been afraid to love and care for your son and wife. Not the same way I used to care for you three before. I think maybe the love in me left when you left.

You know your boy looks and smells just like you. I want to love him but what if he fills my heart with love and warmth? I know I have to face losing him one day and I don’t know if I have the strength to do that again.

Please don’t be disappointment in me for that. I’m doing my best to be brave but it’s your strength that’s always got me by. I think that’s why you held on for as long as you could. God I miss you.

Dear Steve,

My friend messaged me about an abandoned duck at the vet. Not many people are looking to adopt ducks and I would feel guilty to deny her a safe, happy home.

I don’t know if I have enough love in me to give her what she deserves. Do you think it’s a good idea?

Dear Steve,

I called the vet to adopt the duck and left a message with the reception but it’s been over a week and they haven’t called me back.

I don’t know if I’m relieved or upset. I guess I was looking forward to meeting her. But I also don’t want to be a bad mother. I already feel like I’m letting your wife and son down. Am I crazy for thinking I could look after another duck?

Dear Steve,

My friend follows the vet on Facebook. She said they just put out a message looking for “the nice lady wanting to adopt the duck”. I think I’m the “nice lady”!

Why am I excited about this?

I still miss you too much to love another. I feel silly for saying this but I’m scared that if I love a new duck it means that you’re really gone. I don’t think I’m really to admit that yet. I'm not ready to let you go. I still need you like I’ve always needed you. I wish you were still here.

Dear Steve,

She’s home and she’s so small. She didn’t move a single inch the whole two hour ride home. Your family are being weird. They’re acting like they’ve seen a ghost. I think I’ll keep them isolated from her for a bit.

She looks scared too. She doesn’t let me touch her yet but she’s eating and drinking. I’m okay with that.

I hope I can do this. Pray for me.

Dear Steve,

I don’t have a name for the little one yet. She looks like she’s 6-8 months old. She has big brown shiny eyes and she’s still scared of me, but she’s adjusting nicely with your family. I have a feeling someone wasn’t nice to her in the past.

I bet if you were here you’d show her that she could trust me. Remember when you made friends with that magpie and then it started knocking on the window for food?

Dear Steve,

I just realised that I’ve been sitting around the backyard and drinking cup after cup of tea like I use to. Every now and again your wife and son come over for cuddles or expecting snacks. I like this feeling.

The new little one is still hesitant but she’s eating out of my hand now. She’s so small and cute and she chirps up at the sky. I wish I could just pick her up and cuddle her. I think I’ll call her Angel.

I’ll do everything I can to let her know she’s safe. I’m going to be there for this little lady like you were there for me. From now on I’m gonna be Steve.

Background story.

I grew up in a very strict religious household where I wasn’t allowed to make friends or leave the house for anything other than school. Then I went on to university and the strict part remained the same so my older brother finally agreed to take me out to buy some ducks when I was nineteen, something I’ve been begging everyone to let me do for years. We brought home three tiny Khaki Campbells ducklings that grew up into a handsome, cheeky trio.

My father hated having the ducks at home and we’d fight constantly about the loud quacks and the pooping they made. Over time I got good at cleaning the backyard and hiding the ducks before my dad got home from work.

Then my brother got married and decided that the ducks should have wives too so he brought home two hens for three drakes and my well behaved drakes turned into savage beasts but not Steve. Every time a fight broke out between the boys Steve would separate his brothers and drive the hens away. The hens loved Steve and his brothers respected him.

But with extra ducks at home so came extra mess. We had a fairly sizes backyard, at the back of our house was golf course with a lake. The more the boys fought the more I fought with my dad so one day my brother and I took the ducks to the lake behind our house to set them free.

The next morning I walked over to lake before my family woke up and only found Steve but his other brothers were nowhere in sight and neither were the hens. Steve walked right up to me, so I wrapped him up under my jumper and took him back home.

It was soon after that I gave him his name and he became Steve, my best friend. I promised to never let him go no matter what anyone said. Deciding to keep Steve was the first time I stood my ground in front my family.

I received a lot disappointed looks, words of anger and mockery for my choice to keep ducks but keeping ducks taught me to fight back and resist the hate. After a few years no one dared to directly say anything to my face and I figured that I could deal with passive aggression so long as I got to keep my ducks.

When Steve was three I rescued a baby Muscovy who had a broken leg from a family with children who mishandled her. I nursed her back to health and she grew into a stunningly beautiful Queen. She became good companion with Steve and together they made another handsome Drake who I named Midnight, because it was midnight when I first welcomed him into this world.

Steve in particular was a clever, kind and compassionate duck. He took care of his family like it was his mission. He kept his baby son warm during nap time and waited for his wife to finish eating before he dug in; which often meant that I had to bring out another meal because my big Muscovy gal, Fatima is an endless pit. He was selfless in his love and devotion and after nine happy years together I lost him. He was as old as a duck can get and I gave him everything I could to keep him happy.

When I lost Steve my life was shattered. For nine year I had invested a lot of love, time and purpose in the little guy and then he was gone and I didn’t know what to do. I went through a two year period of deep depression. I even thought about giving away my remaining babies, because my strength to fight back against my family died with Steve.

Then I heard about a little homeless duck that needed saving and something woke up in me again. At first the guilt of seeing a duck without a home locked in a cage drew me in.

But the day I took her home was the day I started waking up from my hibernation. My family was angry at me for bringing home a duck without their permission again. But I was then thirty so I fought for my little Angel from day one. That’s when I knew I could be a good mother to her.

I see a lot of myself in her. She’s small and it is visible that she’s been mistreated by humans. She doesn’t know who she can trust so she keeps to herself most of the time.

During meal time she wolfs down her meal like it’s a competition and she only ever naps or sleeps at night when she’s safe in her pen.

I still receive crap for having ducks at home but everyone will just have to deal with it. But I have a secret plan. I’m saving up for a little farm. Covid-19 put a huge boulder in my way but I’m right back on track.

I have to do this for my team of ducks. They deserve a better home. They deserve a much bigger backyard and a bigger pond to swim in.

But I don’t know of any place I can go where I will be welcomed. In Australia people who look like me are not welcome to go anywhere they please. I’m terrified of being out on my own on farm or in a new town where people hate me. So that’s one fear that’s holding me back.

On the other hand there are good people in this world. Bringing Angel into my life taught me that. She is slowly starting to trust me and that gives me hope that there are people out there I could trust too.

It’s funny, how I think I was saving a duck from a cage by adopting her when in reality she is saving me from my cage.

By looking after Angel I am reminded that I need to look after myself as well. She has inspired me to treat myself better, and that I too deserve a better life, the same way I want a better life for her and my other babies.

I finally feel ready to open the door wide open and I hope I have the strength to step out and fly.

bird

About the author

Brave Duck

Overthinking is my nature

Writing is my soul

To clear the chaos in my head

I put pen to my infinite scroll

Who am I kidding? ducks are my soul. I'm a mother to three happy, cheeky, messy ducks.

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