Little Big Apple Story, Part 4

All illustrations for this story were developed in vector software and painted in Essentials.

PART 4, Tragedy

Before winter was over, a heart-stopping event would take place. I had slept with the window beside the bed cracked open a few inches for fresh air. A Venetian blind covered the window, but after getting out of bed that morning the slats were opened a little to let in the warm sunlight.

While dressing for school, a noise in the bedroom got my attention. Bobble did something he had never done before. He had flown to the bedroom window and gotten himself wedged between the slats on the blind. The commotion caused me to rush in to see what was happening. My sudden appearance may have startled him because he slipped behind the blind. I pulled it up to shut the sash since the window had no screen.

Bobble was sitting on the sill disoriented. The moment I reached to lower the sash, he went through the opening to the outside. I shoved the window open and leaned out to see if he had landed below. Bobble had gotten airborne, but was flying in an erratic manner from terror and confusion. In a few seconds he had turned the corner of the building and disappeared from sight.

Immediately I threw my coat on, covered my head with a beanie and barreled down four flights to the street. The hunt began at the corner. Guessing the direction he traveled was a coin toss.

It was rush hour. Dodging traffic to cross streets made the process wretchedly slow. I saw no sign of Bobble. Within an hour the search had expanded to the entire neighborhood surrounding the apartment.

Bobble lacked the stamina to go far before fatigue would force him to stop and rest. After catching his breath, he might continue. As the hours passed, my search radius increased.

I was looking for a needle in a field full of haystacks. Infinite places were available for a tiny parakeet to perch. And that was the places I could see. There were many more that I could not. My hope was his colorful feathers would catch my eye. The only birds seen were the usual pigeons and sparrows that inhabited the boroughs of New York. Not a spot of blue was among them.

At dusk the street lights came on. That ended my search for Bobble. Shadows made it impossible to check the places a desperate and exhausted bird might cling. To make matters worse, it had started snowing. The flakes erased all expectation of finding Bobble. My heart sank thinking of the freezing night ahead. He would not survive because parakeets are tropical birds.

With frigid air blanketing the Northeast, the walk back to the apartment was cold and sad. I telephoned Dee because she also loved Bobble. Sharing the tragic news was heart-wrenching. Hearing her cry was too.

Sometimes it is hard to let go...(A season of change, cont. in Part 5)