Life was something you didn't argue with, because when it came down to it, whether you barracked for God or nothing at all, life was all there was. And death.
― Tim Winton, Cloudstreet
I squashed a bird. It was a still-mostly-fluffy curlew-plover-type thing. I was driving the kids to school. They’d missed the bus. Again.
It wasn’t a rare species. Not a hooded-plover. It was going to grow up to be one of those annoyingly loud creatures we call Sticky-Legs-Birds that sound their cack-cak-cak-cak-cak alarms at ungodly hours and are so stupid they nest on running tracks and beside carparks. Birdbrains. Even so, I felt like shit .
With a pointless No! No! No! I failed to avoid the matchstick-legged dandelion clock skittering across the road at some distance from its mother. At least I assumed it was the mother. My upset was for the remaining bird that turned back to inspect or call to the damaged feathered pile, not for the smudge on the road.
Girlchild gasped out a horrified Oh poor baby! for the tiny deceased, its journey cut short. If only we’d caught that bus. Been a minute earlier.
Boychild responded with Stupid bird. Should have got out of the way.
I sank further. Was this the stereotypical female/male worldview in my Mercedes microcosm? Despite my feminist principles. Irrespective of my earnest attempts at contemporary mothering. Had empathy and sympathy lost to alpha-male apathy?
As the car door slammed, a deep voice I love more than Life itself suggested Hey Mum, reckon you'd better go home a different way.
So I did. Singing all the while.