(this is Part II of a three-part story....to read Part I click here)
Flying Lessons Part II
My first memory was of flying. My father held me above his head as I threw out my arms and pretended to fly. He laughed as he turned in circles and I thought I was really flying. So young. So naïve.
Our entire family are flyers. We knew from the time we could understand language that we would grow up to fly. It is an honorable profession. And I always wanted to be like everyone else in the family. When I began my training, it was exciting. Friends were envious. I would return home everyday after hours of classes and happily chatter about the day’s lessons.
Then, one day, one terrible day, the unthinkable happened. An event which had occurred rarely and not for many years. An accident. And death. No one could explain how it happened, why it happened. It was a fiery, terrible thing. A boy I knew slightly had died. That was sad and wrong. But the worst for me was my aunt. My dear, funny, sweet aunt. She loved flying with a passion and would rather be flying than anything else in the world. My mother’s sister, beautiful and strong, was like a sister to me. We were just a few years apart in age and I had spent most of my childhood following her wherever she went, wanting to be with her. She was good and kind to me, sweet, loving and always patient. We would talk for hours, she would sing to me, brush my hair, play with me endlessly. We used to make tiny clay animals and gifted each other with rabbits, cats, dragons, unicorns. Her favorite one was the dragon I had made for her. She kept it in her pocket whenever she flew. “It will help me to be brave and strong,” she told me.
She had kissed me on the forehead just hours before the accident, and said, “Soon, it will be you and me up there!” She laughed and dashed away, her hair flying around her, waving farewell. Later, hours after her death, as I lay in bed, having cried long and hard, the fear began to creep around me like a black, clinging cloud and I realized I would never be able to fly.
The fear grew every day, the worst of it at night, in nightmares filled with fire and screams, falling and dying. Despite my sleepless nights, I could not bring myself to voice this fear to my family. They were grieving for my aunt, but life goes on, work goes on and my mother would be ashamed of me if I spoke the truth. Shame is a dreadful thing when you are part of a family whose pride and heritage define you.
End Part II
Copyright August 2011 by Robin Larkspur. This is a work of fiction. Reproduction of this work is strictly prohibited.