Yeah, you read that right. It depends on how you view the childhood memory…
I was around 4 years old and my Father took me for the summer to Puerto Rico. That’s where he was born and where the majority of my paternal family lives. It’s beautiful down there, from what I remember. I don’t remember every incident that happened when I was there but I do remember one night very vividly.
The family who lived next store to my Grandma raised chickens. They run around their yard, crazy and wild. Just a chicken free for all, no one cares down there. They have cock fights in the alley’s and stuff so no one cares about chickens in a yard. You ever heard the term, “running around like a chicken with its head cut off?” Yeah, that really happens. I promise. It’s creepy and disturbing but it’s also their way of life. Once the initial shock wears off it’s no longer disturbing.
One evening my Grandma brings me this baby chicken. She told me I could raise it while I stayed with them. Well, she didn’t tell me, she told my dad and then he translated for me. It was so cute but it looked like a duck to me so no matter what anyone told me, I assumed it was a duck. I loved the duck-that-was-really-a-chicken. I held him all evening long. I wanted him to sleep inside with us. Grandma wouldn’t allow that because chicken poop in the house. No way would grown-up me allow that, I was a crazy kid.
I didn’t sleep wellthat night because the baby duck-that-was-really-chicken needed me. I felt so bad that he was outside all alone. He was probably scared of the dark, just like me.
My Grandma would sleep with the TV on and some Spanish soap opera would be playing all night long. I was in and out of sleep. I remember waking up from a bad baby duck-that-was-really-a-chicken, dream and my hand was on top of my Grandmas head. (We always shared a bed) At first I thought her hair was the duck-that-was-really-a-chicken and I pulled it, trying to pull the baby duck-that-was-really-a-chicken, back to me.
When I pulled my Grandmas hair, she sat straight up in bed. She said something in Spanish, I have no idea what was said. I pretended to be asleep. I don’t know if she knows it was me or if she even remembers her hair getting pulled. But I remember and I feel like a turd for pulling my Grandmas hair. She didn’t deserve it and honestly I didn’t mean to do it. It was an accident, I swear.
The next morning while my Grandma was making breakfast, I went outside to check on my baby duck-that-was-really-a-chicken. He made it through the night. I was stoked. I was feeding him some seed mix the neighbors had given us. I remember seeing a bucket with water in it. I have no idea why it was there or how it got there but in my eyes, baby ducks-that-are-really-a-chicken can swim, right? Yeah, if it was a freakin duck! I put him in the bucket so he could swim. He could not swim, he wasn’t a duck. He was a damn chicken.
I always feel bad when I tell that story or my family tells the story. I loved that baby duck-that-was-really-a chicken. I cried over his death, it was hard on me. As an adult I can’t help but think maybe I saved him from a horrible death in the future? I was just going to raise him while I stayed at my Grandmas. He wasn’t going to come home with me. I would of said goodbye to him in a month or two and soon after he would be running around with his head cut off.
So was it murder? Involuntary duck-that-was-really-a-chicken slaughter? I don’t know what you’d call what 4 year old me did, but it was not cool.
RIP Baby Duck-that-was-really a Chicken.
You are greatly missed and thought about thought of often