talking with budgies

Four fluorescent budgerigars woke me up this morning. I told my landlady and she answered, ‘They’re happy budgies because they were born in a cage.’ If their talking is any indication of their happiness, then she must be right. It’s now four in the afternoon, and they’re still at it.

I remember hearing a story about a Rwandan woman. She had lived through the genocide but had lost most of her family. Arriving in the UK, she was offered counselling. She accepted. She liked her doctor, a sympathetic middle aged man, and he liked her. Each week he encouraged her to talk about her experiences, her feelings and thoughts. If she had nothing to say, they would sit in silence until she did. But each week, it became clearer to the doctor that his methods weren’t working. His patient was becoming increasingly unhappy, and spoke less and less. Eventually he decided to ask her what the problem was. Promptly, she told him, ‘It’s the talking. In my country, we talk when we have something good to talk about and to celebrate. We don’t talk about our sadness. How can I get better by talking?’

I wonder if it is a mistake to admit to this thought-linkage: the chattering budgies and the silent Rwandan lady. It just came up in my head.