I have just done a terrible, stupid thing. I have killed Little Bobby. I saw the damned rat again a couple of hours ago, the massive rat I saw last week on the wall. I had cleaned the wall and moved the bird food to the feeders but I kept putting one dish of seed and meal worms in a flower pot for little Bobby as he couldn’t use the feeders. The pot was out in the drive and high enough I hoped that the rat wouldn’t go near it. But today I saw him, this bloody great rat, running from the pot and I knew I had to somehow kill it.
My landlord told me the cat had taken a bird in the last couple of days. I hoped it wasn’t a Robin. I had seen Bobby earlier looking a bit dishevelled. His partner who was more outgoing and often seen hopping around on the ground, was nowhere in sight. I thought about him alone again. Life for some seems to be all about having what little is given us consistently snatched away.
It was raining and getting late, there were no birds around. The concerns I had had about trapping Bobby, accidentally, receded. He had not been around for hours. I thought of him sitting silently in the hedge. There were no other birds around either. The rat and the cat, I thought, had scared them off. I put the trap on the pot half in a wooden box and loaded it with peanut butter.
When I came down an hour later the light was leeching from the sky and there was a shadow dangling from the pot. The rat, I thought but it was Little Bobby, his wee body still warm. It would’ve been fast, he would not have known anything.
Why did I not think?Why had all my previous concerns become so vague?Surely I should’ve guessed he would be making one more foray into the dusk.
I buried him under the wall beside the hedge he was born in last Summer, where he used to take his food and from where he would launch himself across to sit at my car window. He was not an average Robin. He was a little more tentative than most Robins, a late starter in the relationship stakes and, in his earlier months, given to bouts of contemplation. It will sound silly but I’ll miss him terribly.