Blue Bird Landing

bird

Post-college graduation was a strange time… I was on the ultimate high of completing a yearlong internship in the Script Department at Saturday Night Live. And now, I was heading back home to Kansas with uncertain prospects. Like most recent graduates, I was eager to get started in my chosen career, television writing. But for the time being, I settled for a waitressing gig at a local bar, The Peanut.

I was fired from The Peanut within three weeks (a first) for, “not catching on quickly enough”. In a way, I was relieved because I didn’t fit in at all. After a few weeks of unemployment and moping (watching The Graduate, writing sad poetry), I found a job at Gigi’s Cupcakes. Gigi’s is a wonderful sweet shop with an optimistic pink interior. My days were filled with frosting cupcakes and handling the register, a much-appreciated change of pace. Slowly, I found myself re-gaining the confidence to pursue moving back to New York with the hope of a television job.

Through a whirlwind of events, I landed an interview at AMC Networks for an assistant position. I flew out to NYC and had a successful conversation with the current assistant. Everything seemed like it was lining up perfectly. I landed the second interview and flew out again. I had mentally packed my bags and accepted the position when I received the email that I had, in fact, not.

It was a devastating blow for me. I was depressed. It was like I was stuck in the sinking sand of my own failed expectations. Part of me began to question why I had ever considered myself special.

During this dark time, I was producing a short film about a delusional man who believes he is Gene Wilder playing Willy Wonka. I had written the script in part because the concept was too ridiculous not to produce. Also, because my uncle’s neighbor is the spitting image of Gene Wilder.

During the last day of production, the Kansas heat waves were strong. The sun was beating down heavy upon my cast and myself. In the midst of filming the last scene, in which the hard-hitting reporter (Monica Sandreczki) questions Beverley (Sarah Menez) about her estranged uncle. Suddenly, I heard a flutter overhead. I felt a small presence, like two sticks in my hair.

In the midst of Monica’s line, I bellowed, “Wait, what is on my head?”

“There is a bird on your head,” Monica laughed.

“There’s a bird on my head?” I repeated.

“Holy crap! It’s a blue parakeet,” Sarah shouted.

I rolled my eyes upwards towards this new friend. “This may be the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.”

I caught the parakeet with a nearby beret and scooped him into a box. I named him Willy, in honor of the movie in which he decided to make a surprise cameo. After some initial adjustment, Willy filled out. His feathers grew more vivid and he found his singing voice. He looked happy, almost like a new bird.

Just two months later, I moved out to New York when a temp job opened up at AMC Networks. On my last day as a temp, it turned into a full-time gig, where I am currently working.

Somehow even in a very bleak and seemingly hopeless time, a blue parakeet selected me. It may have been completely random, or perhaps he simply needed shelter. But I like to think that Willy picked me because he saw something special in me. The night after Willy landed on my head, I fell asleep peacefully. Nothing in my life was conclusive or perfect, but his landing gave me something I hadn’t experienced in a long-while: hope. And hope is a beautiful thing.

Emily Menez About Emily Menez

Emily Menez is a comedy writer and improv performer. She hails from Overland Park, Kansas but her heart belongs to New York City. You can follow her @emenez2. She also owns @emenez1 but forgot her password.

Emily Menez About Emily Menez

Emily Menez is a comedy writer and improv performer. She hails from Overland Park, Kansas but her heart belongs to New York City. You can follow her @emenez2. She also owns @emenez1 but forgot her password.

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