In my last year of graduate school, my roommate got it into her head that she wanted to accomplish a goal she has had since she was a child: She wanted to have a pet duck. The conversation went as follows:
“Mona, I would like to discuss something very important.”
“Can I have a pet duck?”
“It’s been my dream since I was a kid.”
“Well, ok…as long as you take care of it! Do you really think we can take care of a duck in our apartment?”
“Well yeah! We have a balcony!”
And with this, the great duck experiment began! Pretty simple right?
Well, through a very dramatic, vaguely traumatic, and highly elaborate process, my roommate was able to obtain her pet duck. We completely gave the balcony a make over, covered in green tablecloth to give it that “green-grass” look. We even made the little duckling a little cardboard house, and bought a heat lamp to try and make a mini pond. It didn’t really work. Soon after our attempts at making him a home, the day came in which we decided to give the duck a name, as we were very tired of calling him “Hey Duck!” My roommate looked at it and decided that it was a male duck. We gave him a Turkish male name, Efe Jon, which means “brave, cool one.” His name was Turkish because we simply had to raise him trilingual; speaking English, Arabic, and Turkish.
Little Efe Jon quickly became part of the family. He would sit on the table as we ate and go on walks with us. it was very easy to walk with Efe Jon, for he was imprinted on us and would follow either me or my roommate everywhere. He didn’t even need a leash! My roommate could place the duckling in the pocket of her jacket as she studied, and he would never complain. One day, Efe Jon broke his leg. My roommate used to fill up the sink and have him swim around for his bath. But because he was so imprinted, she left the kitchen and he tried to follow and fell from the counter. My roommate quickly rushed him to the animal hospital and the vet fixed his leg for him. The vet also did a double check, and confirmed his gender for us. His leg soon healed very nicely! When we were home, and Efe Jon was running loose, it was a little difficult for me because he would follow me everywhere, but in spite of this slight craziness, Efe Jon grew on me and it was one of the most interesting experiences of my life.
I went into work and told my co-workers about Efe Jon, and they stared at me, thinking we had named him “Ling Jon”. We had picnics with Efe Jon, and he grew, becoming fatter and fatter. We even played dress up with him! We got him different hats took pictures. As he grew bigger, my roommate used to fill up her bath tub and let him swim around, and when he was done he was treated to a personal blow dry for his feathers. Oh the life he led! He was a bit spoiled, and was not very tough. Whenever we took him on walks, he was afraid of the other ducks in the complex who were too aggressive for him. I was sitting down on a bench one day and the next thing you know, I found him hiding from them behind my legs. Oh Efe Jon…
Alas, all good things must come to end, and it was nearing the time for me and my roommate to move out. We couldn’t bring Efe Jon with us, so we had to find a home for little Efe Jon who was no longer little. We did not want him to be left on his own eaten. One of my close friend’s sister was able to take him, and Efe Jon made the six-hour car ride to Panama City. We had our goodbyes, our last picnic, and our last walk there. He upgraded to a house with a yard and his own wooden home with kiddy pool and real grass. The days came and went, and I stayed in touch with my friend who stayed in touch with her sister and we got periodic updates on Efe Jon’s health and well-being until
One day, we received a picture. It was a nest with eggs! Efe John had turned out to be Efe Jane this entire time! OH Pet ducks!