Over the Edge

I ask Tom not to wee over the edge of the patio, but rather to go into the garden, find a shrub and wee discreetly behind it. More than once I ask him. Yes Dad, he says, shaking off the last drops.
Early one morning as the sun rises I watch the feathered parade in the old dead avocado tree. I’m going to miss that tree when it finally platzes. Already I’ve sawn off the big branch overhanging the driveway as it was full of bracket fungus and ready to dent someone’s car. I have planted a Natal Mahogany underneath to succeed it one day.
The white-eared barbets fluff themselves up in the early rays and two black-collared barbets land and go through a spirited two-puddly (or “Scottburgh”) duet. A group of purple-crested touracos bound across the branches, an olive thrush peeps and lands, as does a female violet-backed starling, a brownhooded kingfisher, a forktailed drongo and a speckled mousebird, all using the tall bare branches as a waypost or a sunning spot.
I’m busting for a leak but I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want to go inside and I don’t want to disturb the birds by going off the patio, so I discreetly have a leak over the edge of the patio outside Tom’s bedroom window. It’s early. I’m sure he’s still sleeping.
But he spots me and I know I’ve blown my credibility.
I feel I need to explain, so at breakfast I tell him about the wonderful dawn display and not wanting to disturb the birds. He nods.
Not too long after that morning there’s Tom, weeing over the edge of the patio in full view. I bite my tongue. I know what’s coming.
Dad, he says mock-solemnly, I didn’t want to disturb the birds.

20140504_092944 Elston Place Deck Tom

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