Memoirs of a Frequent Flier
It was in the spring of 2000 when I first realized that I could fly. It had been coming on by degrees—first in dreams, where I would hold my arms straight out, crucifixion style, and then pump them straight up and down until I rose from the ground to float through the air, feet hanging straight down below me, swimming through the air propelled by those pumping arms.
In the dreams, no one ever noticed me. Not the other kids playing “New Orleans” in my yard below me, not my dad out mowing the grass or my mom hanging clothes on the line. Birds flew by in their usual manner without changing their course, whizzing by so close to my ears that I became convinced that I was invisible to all nature–man and beast.
I was never stung by mosquitos when I was in flying mode, and for some reason, even during that long summer when I was ten years old and flying every day, it never rained when I was flying. A few times the first raindrop fell just as my feet came into contact with the ground and I had to shift my mind to remember how to move my legs to propel myself and avoid getting soaked to the skin by one of those July rainstorms so dreaded by farmers trying to get their summer wheat crop combined before the heavy rain, or even worse, hail.
Hail! What would happen if it were to hail while I was flying? Would I be able to soar above the hail—to watch it fall to the earth below me–a wall of white water stones creating themselves just inches below my toes and falling straight down away from me? Could I see them forming? Turning to ice where seconds before there had been nothing, each one of millions a little miracle in itself?
I don’t remember how old I was when I stopped flying. All I can remember is one day remembering that I used to fly, long before, and wondering if the whole experience of that long summer when I was ten was just memories stitched together from dreams. Like so many other things, I can remember clearly when they began but have no memory of when they stopped. Perhaps they haven’t. Perhaps only the memory of this talent unique to me has faded, daily, as soon as my feet touch earth.
But I wonder, in these days of drones so easily and cheaply purchased on the internet, if flight such as mine has become an impossibility. With more people looking up at the sky, what is my likelihood of avoiding being noticed and if I were noticed, what effect would it have on my life? All the news agencies would call. Then Oprah and perhaps even the president. Perhaps Donald Trump would call wanting to make me into a reality show. Perhaps I’d be encouraged to launch a blog penned from above. How high up does wifi go, I wonder, and would I have to attach a wifi antenna to a beanie on my head and post the blog orally as both hands would be necessary for my flight, to prevent my plummeting to earth?
No, better that this miracle of flight be left behind with other marks of my adolescence: pimples and wet dreams and all those insecurities of coming of age. Perhaps they were what prompted my need to raise myself above it all. Now that I am well past being fully matured and in fact have embarked on that course that will eventually result in my sinking back into that earth I once rose above, I can make do with pleasures of that earth—chocolate and fresh ripe figs and a 5 o’clock Martini enough to raise me above the norm. And that truth that once I was unique is enough to assure that I still am—here in my Barclay Lounger with my New Yorker Magazine, my feet up on the step stool and commands that I can give through air simply by a push of the finger via remote control. Checking into Oprah to see who she has found to fill my place this week. Keeping my secret. Knowing how thrilled she would have been. Rating my potential story against theirs. And in my own mind, I know that I would rise above them all.
For Fandango’s Story Starter 16 prompt. This week’s Story Starter teaser from Fandango is: “It was in the spring of 2010 when I first realized that I could…” We are to start our story with that line. Sorry, Fandango, but I had to change the year to 2000 as my narrator has to be a bit older.