(The sun slowly rises in the horizon, bathing the ground with its fiery glow. A light breeze makes the branches of the trees sway gently as if in a dance. Two lovebirds soak up the warm sunshine as they enjoy their view from their woody perch. A clueless little bug scuttles in front of them, catching their attention. The male bird swiftly grabs the poor bug and turns to his mate)
Mr. Tock: Care for a snack, my Love?
Mrs. Tock: (blushing) why thank you, handsome! Kip-kip-kip-kip caring for me like this and I will stay by you forever and never leave you. Speaking of leaving, did you know one of the couples among the ‘avoiders’ got divorced?
Mr. Tock: I’m hearing it first from you. But you do know that I would never even think of divorcing you, don’t you? You are not just a snack, but a wholesome meal! (winks) Anyway, why did they get divorced?
Mrs. Tock: I suspect their problems started around mating season. Maybe they just weren’t right for each other, who knows?
Mr. Tock: (Jokingly) Now do you see why we were branded “nosy neighbours”? Your ‘muchene’ is always on point! Nothing escapes your radar, not double M’s deportation, not the media blackout and now, this divorce. Damn, woman, you never cease to amaze me.
Mrs. Tock: Oh please, don’t act like you don’t enjoy knowing everything that’s going on around us. In fact, you encourage me. Which isn’t a bad thing, mind you. Great couples gossip A LOT. It just means we are comfortable with each other and are good in communication.
Mr. Tock: (With a defeated face) Okay, admittedly, I did know about the divorce. However, I heard the reason was because of that suburban development being built by our rather noisy neighbours.
Mrs. Tock: You mean the humans?
Mr. Tock: Who else? Apparently the lady wanted to move somewhere else because of all the noise but he insisted that it wasn’t too loud and anyway he had got too used to their home together and didn’t want to move anywhere else. At some point, she couldn’t take it any more and she left. Now see, just like that he lost the love of his life and his chances of leaving a legacy of children. Unfortunate, if you ask me.
Mrs. Tock: (Trying to lighten up the mood) He could look for a ‘Samantha’..? (Giggles)
Mr. Tock: (Smiling) don’t even start. This is the month of love, remember?
Mrs. Tock: That reminds me, how do you think I look for our Valentines’ date? (Twirls around showing off her shiny black feathers, long tail with white accents and bright red bill.)
Mr. Tock: (Shyly) You look great. (Looks away)
Mrs. Tock: Hey, don’t look away. I look just like the first time you fell in love with me, am I right?
Mr. Tock: Indeed, my Love. I crowned you as my queen even though we haven’t got around to getting an actual crown. (With a teasing smile)
Mrs. Tock: Hey, you know it’s the humans who named me ‘Crowned Hornbill’ (Tockus alboterminatus) not you. So stop being cheeky. Although I must say, back when we were courting, you pulled out all the stops to impress me. I couldn’t help but fall for you.
(Mr. Tock pretends to play cool but deep down is gushing with nostalgic pride.)
Mr. Tock: Thank you, Love. Also, thanks to this human, we have all these memories captured in images that can be shared and that I’m sure our kids will love too.