If a wave rolls down from heaven
With the turning of the tide
You’re pulled in all directions
Only for awhile
~ Colin Hay, “The Flying Song”
I’d tried before, many times. Flying. Here and there, I’d been able to concentrate hard enough to raise my body above the ground, for a bit of time.
Occasionally, I’d get this little contraption that allowed me to sort of sit and fly, as if life was a very realistic IMAX movie.
But this time, walking just wasn’t cutting it. I didn’t want to fly; I needed to fly.
So I did.
I didn’t have to concentrate with all my might this time. I just had to know I could do it. And I had to focus, yet let go.
Up, up, and away, I went! It was amazing, yet not about the rush. This was about the mission. But it still felt wonderful, the pink and purple wind against my skin.
Even when I touched down and walked again, I was filled with the knowledge that I was lighter; the Earth couldn’t hold me. I visited my grandmother, and we talked about getting together at church that night. I was happy to be in her house, until I noticed the refrigerator was different, and on the opposite side of the room. I remembered all the years of happy magnets on the old reliable brown refrigerator, the freezer below filled with Mickey Mouse ice cream pops. A brown refrigerator in a house that hadn’t felt as happy since my grandfather died, 17 years ago.
I realized things would never be the same. So I wandered around and managed to find that mystery house that’s been randomly appearing since 1995. Awesome! This is a cool house, filled with double-rooms and secret passageways. I couldn’t wait to show it to my boyfriend.
I found him in the basement, but was confused, as his face had two bandages on it, covering cuts. When I asked where he got the cuts, he muttered something about a fight. But I knew that wasn’t true. The cuts had betrayal written all over them, and as he admitted as much, then more and more, his face changed and I didn’t know him anymore.
I cried and pleaded for him to stay and work it out, but people came, people who hated me, to usher him away. I cried; I was angry. Devastated.
I could not go see my grandmother at the church now. I would have had to leave right then, and was in no condition to go. My heart was breaking; I wanted to vomit and shatter things until I could lie down in a pile of broken glass, just to feel something besides this emptiness hollowing me out from the inside.
And I was talking in my sleep. All at once, I realized everything, every bit of this turmoil, to be a dream.
Wishful thinking, whispered a voice belonging to something I couldn’t see.
Wake yourself up, said another.
Then there was not a voice, but a presence, that I could see. It wanted me to follow it. It told me without speaking that I had to continue. This heartache wasn’t real, but something else was.
So I followed.
The presence led me to a house I’d never seen. My grandmother was there, telling me that she’d go to church tomorrow, but tonight she and two other families were having an outdoor get-together, and that I should join them.
That they were teaching each other how to fly.
It had been so long since I’d flown, but my grandmother looked happy. I couldn’t bear to tell her about the weight crushing down on me, making it almost impossible to breathe, let alone fly.
But she didn’t seem concerned with my doubts. She just carried on, bustling about in an energetic and joyous way I hadn’t witnessed in many years.
So I thought, maybe I don’t have to talk to anyone. Maybe I can just be still, and breathe in the joy of this place.
As I sat and observed, all of the horror of the previous hours chipped, then melted, away. Until finally, I was ready to join everyone playing in the yard, young and old, laughing and soaring into the night sky.