This is a story about a very short-sighted Sunbird with the name - well as the story goes, rather coincidentally - Aje. And as the story would have it, being short-sighted means Aje is not able to fly far from his home, very much unlike the other Sunbird, or rather birds for the matter. No matter how much Aje would love to, he has to remind himself that he is not like a bat armed with sonar and acute hearing, and able to fly through a maze of objects in the dark. No, Aje have to remind himself repeatedly he is not, remembering an episode in the past when he was inspired to think he was, by an affliction which strikes all those young at heart, humans included.
Then, springing to life at the end of the rainy season, Aje was, like all creatures big and small, yearning to immortalise his name within the Sunbird community and make a claim to a small territory of his own. In other words, Aje was looking for a mate to make a nest.
The day, just like any, began when Aje traipsed along a big branch on the tree where Aje lives. The tree, being a large one at that, off course have many branches as any large tree would have. And as the tree was large, this branch was one which Aje had never been on. Aje being there too, was rather fortunate (or unfortunate as the story would tell) after having glided down from the top branches quite like a flying fox, and he was very much surprised to land on this branch he had never been before. Well, in truth, it does not matter if he had or not. Being short-sighted, almost everything and every place is new to him.
From a distance of no more than a meter, Aje's short-sighted eyes caught the blurry shape of what he thought was another Sunbird, and moved closed towards it. As he got closer, his nose picked up the sweet scent of nectar, which smells like perfume to most birds (and bees and their likes). "Aha!"thought Aje, "could this that which my heart seek?". Aje moved closer.
"That's a lovely plumage you have" said Aje as he balanced himself on the branch just beside that which his heart seek.
"And that perfume you're wearing," Aje continued without waiting for any reply to his ice-breaker "it smells so much like nectar".
Under normal circumstances, the pick-up line would have gotten Aje into a female Sunbird's good book already as it is the highest form of flattery from a male. However, Aje received not a single reply even after several tries, and quietly said to himself "Must be one of those shy types I've been hearing stories about. Well, this would make it more exciting".
As it is with birds of all feathers, the males would have to do make a show of himself to catch the attention of the females and win their heart in the process. Some birds like the Peacock, would normally not have to do much as they let their tales be told by their tail. Other birds like the Magpie, whistle the females over with their melodious chirp. But a Sunbird?
Aje could not figure out what was it he was supposed to do and was looking around all over just for some small hints. He tried to play a game or two, but that which his heart seek, remained quiet and aloof.
Almost at wits end, Aje then remembered the tale of legendary birds of old who jump about quite feverishly just to catch a female's attention, and thought it might be a good idea to do so. But what the legend did not tell, was that those birds were Mexican Manakins, which Aje, apart from the legend told, have no inkling at all as to what they are or how they really go about in times such as this. Nonetheless, Aje, being young at heart - and like all young at hearts, a foolish one too - was willing to do just about anything now.
Aje hyped himself to the occasion, initialy humming a slow tune and then rapidly building it to a faster and faster beat. And as it got faster, so did Aje's body move with the rhythm until soon, he was prancing about quite like a mad bull seeing red. Off course, Aje was not seeing red. In fact, he practically see nothing at all except for blurry images all around him. But let that not stop Aje.
Between twigs and thorns, leaves and brushes, Aje was putting his best feet forward with a confidence he has not known before. He became bolder and with each pass, he would move nearer and nearer till he felt his feathers almost ruffling the female, and which got him thinking "She's beginning to take notice!".
In his excitement, little did Aje realise that the flapping of his wings has created a fair amount of air-wave, enough to rock the 'female' back and forth.
Finally, just as Aje thought he was about triumph, his right leg snagged on a twig causing Aje to fall over with the scene quite like those of a horse in a show jump. But off course, Aje is not a horse and thus came tumbling down only to land on another branch below. "She tripped me!" cried a bruised Aje, body and ego. And off course, a broken heart too.
Eversince then, Aje has sworn to remain his true self: Not a writer, nor a photographer. Not even a Manakin, or a bat. "Just be myself," vowed Aje the short-sighted Sunbird. And that is the way it has remain since.
Moral of the story: Just Be Aje.
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