“Paul got chickens???” My best friend Cynthia texted me one afternoon.

“Chickens?” I texted back. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. “Like, as pets?”

She sent me a screen shot of Paul’s instagram, the latest picture featuring five chickens outside on grass beside my estranged cat, Zart.

“Chickens!” I texted back. “Are they for eggs? Or are they going to eat them?”

Cynthia couldn’t answer those questions. I zoomed in on the picture a little more closely. His caption read happily. Like he fully intended to have chickens in his back yard. Not like they were some wild animals that had unexpectedly wandered onto his property. Paul wanted chickens. Of course he did. Where do you even get chickens?

“What do they do with the chickens in the winter?” I wondered, knowing that Cynthia wouldn’t be able to answer that either. She knew as much about domestic chickens as I did.

I looked at the chicken picture one more time, then I flicked the screenshot away with my thumb. Suddenly it was like a weight was unexpectedly lifted off my shoulders. I felt free. In that moment, I knew for sure. Breaking up with Paul had been the right choice.

Don’t get me wrong. We’d broken up years ago and were both happily in our own relationships for years now. We’d been apart for much longer than we’d been together at this point. And I didn’t regret it. It was just that sometimes, in those dark moments at 3am when anxiety lurked in the back recesses of my mind, I wondered if I had been justified in breaking up with Paul and hurting him the way I had. I sometimes chided myself for being so dismissive of Paul. For not appreciating all he was and all he had to offer. I took him for granted, and he hadn’t deserved it.

But chickens! Paul now had chickens living in his backyard. Knowingly! Wantingly! Clearly, I’d been thinking back on the entire situation mistakenly. The whole time, he had been a person who wanted chickens. He’d be happy to have chickens residing alongside of him on his property. I don’t even like chickens that much, or eggs. I don’t ever want to be anywhere near a live chicken. They scare me. The idea of eating the egg of the chicken that lives in my backyard makes me queasy. It’s too rural. I’m a person who can only now in my old age can even begin to stomach the idea of living in the suburbs, much less the country.

If I had stayed with Paul, and he’d asked me to get chickens, I would have laughed. I wouldn’t have taken him seriously. I can’t think of any age, in any parallel universe where I would want my own chickens. But chickens make Paul happy. And now Paul has chickens. So he’s happy, and I’m vindicated. I didn’t break his heart for nothing, I did it so he could have chickens.

That’s the fundamental difference between me and Paul. That’s the indisputable proof that I did the right thing. Chickens. Some people want them and some people don’t.

Boy, was I right to fly that coop.

2020

32 thoughts on “The Chickens

  1. I have a former friend who just posted a picture of the turkey her 9 year old daughter raised from a chick in their backyard–before (her daughter posing with her arm around it) AND after the Thanksgiving meal (the turkey, named Billy, on a platter). I’m with you on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a very interesting perspective. I like it.

    That reminds me of something kind of along those lines… I’ve mentioned in passing a few times in my blog that when I was a senior in high school, there was this girl who had always been part of the popular crowd who suddenly started being really nice and really friendly to me, for no apparent reason. I knew who she was, everyone did, but we had never had a class together, and she had never spoken to me, until one day in the middle of working on our float for Homecoming and she just started talking to me like we were best friends. I always wondered if she liked me. After we graduated, she moved away earlier than she was planning to, without warning. I even remember the last thing she said to me was something like “I’m sure I’ll talk to you again before I move.”

    That was 1994. She reappeared in my life in 2007, one of the first of many people from my past to come out of the woodwork after I started using Facebook. (She was married by then, she has since divorced and remarried.) It did not take long for me to get closure after that. She is obsessed with, shall we say, certain celebrities and other public figures whom I can’t stand, and I know that anyone who idolizes those people the way she does, or anyone who is that into celebrity culture in general, wouldn’t have been right for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You got me at the end with that line! Breakups can go bad or amicably, and it’s good to see that this relationship was the latter. The narrator certainly set Paul free; he was able to fly from the nest haha!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was a wonderful generational illustration. Back in the day when I was in and out of relationships, there was no internet to tell me β€œwhatever happened to…?”

    Sometimes I think it would be fun to have chickens or a goat, but in reality, I’m too lazy to be bothered. Having a dog is all I can handle now!

    Loved your closing line.πŸ’•

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really liked that idea of cutting all ties completely. Although it’s nice that the internet is able to satisfy the curiosity every so often, it’s better overall to just stay away.

      Thanks for the kind words πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Haha, you remind me of a long ago (pre social media) breakup. I was Paul. But instead of chickens it was a ratty 25 year old Ford pickup truck. I bought it because I wanted it. And it was so liberating knowing that I would not be getting disapproving comments from my ex GF. Everyone was better off.

    Liked by 2 people

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