A Case of Mistaken Identity by Stella Pierides

Diamond doves are small, beautiful birds, which can be kept as pets,
‘Wiki-Marion’ told me once. Since I knew she enjoys dispensing
information, I did not think more about it, until she invited me to
see her new pet, “Love”.

A bird of beauty! Light blue-grey head, neck, and breast; dark bill,
spotted wings fringed in black; orange eyes. I fell in love with Love.
He kept bow-cooing, fluffing his wings, strutting, kissing Marion’s
hand. I felt jealous, knowing I could not compete with my friend for
the bird’s affections.

Walking back home, I stopped at the park, looking for doves, ducks and
this winter’s migratory birds. None had the exquisite and delicate
beauty of the diamond dove. I was heartbroken by the time I arrived
home, vowing to stop visiting Marion to avoid the pain.

A few weeks later, she phoned me. “Love died,” she announced.


“These birds seem to fall in love with their owner if they don’t have
a bird partner. I encouraged his bonding to me. But that was all I
could do – I could not let him mate with my hand as if it were a
female! He felt rejected and died of love.”

“It was only an animal. Animals behave differently,” I said, breaking
into hysterical laughter.

I put the phone down struck by an acute pang of unease. Who are the
animals here, I asked myself, my face burning with shame.


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Filed under Stella Pierides

11 responses to “A Case of Mistaken Identity by Stella Pierides

  1. what an ending twist. really thought-provoking. yes, human pets, loved to death, probably in more cases then we want to know about.

  2. Wow! That was a roller-coaster ride! As always – great detail and always something to consider at the close. I learned the hard way that your male canary will only sing if you put the female in a nearby cage. If the two are in the same cage, Nothing! Doris

  3. Good story with an interesting twist. Also felt a little strange when reading of the bird attempting to mate with her hand. Nicely unsettling bit of business for a story!

  4. Thanks for reading and commenting!
    Doris, thanks for the tib bit, don’t they say “absence (distance) makes the heart grow fonder?”
    Susan, re: the mating business with the hand, I actually read about this on Google: apparently it does happen if the bird is bonded/attached to the owner!
    It’s a big and complex world out there, I agree, Dorothee!

  5. “Wiki-Marion” “love died.” great stuff.

  6. Very thought provoking, multi layered piece. Nice.

  7. Your piece is dense, layered and can be interpreted in diverse ways which are always my favorite stories to read. It does mirror how complex the world is, and mysterious, too, which I simply love.

  8. Tina Barry

    “Who are the animals” indeed! Nicely done.

  9. The last graf pulls this story into a nice, uneasy package. Love the tension, and it’s release. Peace…

  10. Pingback: Week #26 – Animal behavior | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  11. love the way this story kicks out in an unexpected direction in the last few lines. The narrator’s voice is managed with just the right reserve early on, which sets us up so well for the mood and emotion shift at the end. Excellent take on the theme.

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