“It had all been going so well,” said the Lilac Breasted Roller to his mate. “Everyone thought we were the National Bird of Botswana. Even though there’d never actually been one.” The bright coloured little bird sighed heavily. “It was such a PR triumph just letting all those safari visitors think that.”
“I know,” replied the female. Her wings drooped.
“But now the Kori Bustard’s been given the title. It’s official.”
“That bird’s not nearly as pretty and charming as us,” she said flapping her bright turquoise wings.
The male sighed again. “You may as well close our Twitter account.”
The sun is low in the sky, but the baked-on heat of the day throbs out of the concrete stoep. The bush sings with insects. I sip my sundowner slowly, the sharp, grassy taste lingering on my tongue, the liquid cool in my throat. Condensation beads on the glass and drips drops of fine rain on my bare knees. Wood-smoke from someone’s early evening braai wrinkles my nose.
The thicket rustles and a tiny antelope appears in the small clearing beyond the stoep. He sees me and freezes. I keep still-still not wanting to frighten him. We stare at each other. I hardly dare breathe. He is so close, so wild and timid. Motionless, our eyes locked together, a minute passes, two…
‘Top up?’ a large hand holding a green bottle accompanies the question. The little animal starts and skips off into the bush. The spell is broken.