This is what I imagine flying feels like

I woke up one morning with wings on.

Flap, flap, flap, flap went my wings, and feathers went all over my bed.

I went to the bathroom to look at them in the mirror, but in the mirror they were only white bones in the shape of  wings, held up and out by pink strands of things I think you call “ligaments”, and larger, darker pink things I think are muscles.

They twitched and moved, and I turned around. Looking right at my wings, they were full of feathers, in the mirror, they were all bony and fleshy and gross. I could see at my shoulder blades where the base of my wings sort of melted into my back, fused with skin that started creeping spidery up my wings.

My next thought is this: “I have to try them out”.

Outside the bathroom was the hallway that goes to my bedroom and my dad and step-mother’s room and the laundry and also out to the lounge room and dining room and kitchen area and if I went that way my dad would see me with wings and I didn’t want him to see me with wings.

I went out of the bathroom back to my bedroom. And from my bedroom I went to the laundry, which goes out to my back yard. I didn’t want to go out to the front yard because people would see my wings and point and stare and say things.

Maybe they would think I was an angel or a ghost or something and I needed to get back to my home in the clouds, except I don’t believe in heaven so I think I’d just go to some other cloud city where there are no belief systems other than you have to be happy. And also I was afraid people would see me how I looked in the mirror with the bone-wings and not the feather-wings.

In the back yard I stretched my wings out and wriggled them a little. I stretched them out and flapped them a little. I jumped and flapped and stayed in the air for about a second. Then I really spread them and jumped and flapped hard and felt myself rise. I ran across the yard and jumped and flapped and rose a little higher.

Then I climbed up onto the roof.

I spread my wings out and I could feel the wind running through them and then the laundry door slammed closed and dad was looking up at me.

He said, “William, get down from there, right now!”

I said, “hi dad.” Then I remembered my wings and said, “don’t look at me, I don’t want you to see me like this.”

He said, “what are you doing up there? Get down!”

I said, “go away! Don’t look at me!” And my wings felt weak and thin, and they folded behind my back like I was ashamed of them. I was ashamed of them.

He said, “look, buddy, you need to come down from there. You could hurt yourself.” Then he said, “Jesus Christ, I don’t have time for this,” and I think he didn’t want me to hear that bit but I did.

I could tell by the tone of his voice that he wasn’t going to go inside until I came down.

So I spread my wings out and started flapping, to get a feel for the wind.

My dad said, “what are you doing now?”

I said, “look at my wings, aren’t they beautiful?”

He said, “what are you talking about?”

I walked to the edge of the roof. I said, “look at my wings, aren’t they beautiful?”

He said, “don’t you dare, don’t you even think about jumping off that roof!”

It was too late. I jumped and flapped my wings, and dad ran in and tried to catch me. My wings didn’t work properly and I fell like how I think a stone would fall if it had wings.

I crashed into dad and rolled off him onto the grass and felt all the air leave my lungs in one giant whoosh like a ghost escaping.

It hurt and for a moment all I could do was lay on the grass and arch my back over and grind my wings into the ground. My dad groaned and held his head and his chest and through the bright lights popping up in front of my eyes I could just make out that my dad was bleeding out of his head.

My step-mother came out some time after that but I couldn’t remember what she did because the popping pain lights in my eyes became too much.

***

The next day I didn’t have my wings. I was in a hospital bed and when I sat up, my insides burned. My mother was sitting beside the bed and she told me to lie back, to be careful.

I said, “my wings are gone.”

Mum said, “it’s good to see you.”

I said, “they took away my wings.”

She said, “I heard you tried to fly yesterday.” She said, “you need to be more careful.”

I said, “they weren’t working properly, my wings.”

She said, “you gave your father quite a scare.” She said, “when he told me, it gave me quite a scare, too.”

She reached her hand out and stroked my cheek.

I said, “is dad ok?”

She said, “yeah, he just got a bit of a knock to the head. He’s got a couple of stitches, but it’s nothing, really.”

I said, “I’m happy you’re here.”

She said, “I came as soon as your father told me what happened.”

She leaned over and kissed me on the cheek.

I said, “did they catch my ghost?”

She said, “what ghost? I only heard about my little angel.” She said, “tell me about the ghost.”

I said, “it left me when I fell onto dad. I couldn’t breathe when it went. I think dad’s ghost left him too.”

She said, “there’s a ghost inside of you?”

I nodded. “I think there’s probably a ghost inside of you too.”

She said, “how do you know?”

I said, “I could feel it when it left me. I think there are ghosts inside of all of us.”

She said, “can you feel it now?”

I prodded gently at my chest and nodded. “It’s there.”

My mother grabbed my hand and held it to her chest. “Can you feel my ghost too?”

Her chest thumped lightly, like her ghost was trying to let me know it was still there.

I said, “you have a very warm ghost. A nice ghost.”

She laughed and hugged me, careful not to hurt my ghost. She was close and smelled nice, and dad was standing at the door, watching us. There was a bandage over his head but he was smiling, and I was smiling, and mum was smiling, and I could feel her ghost like it was trying to make friends with my ghost, so it could help my ghost get better so my ghost could get better soon and protect me. At that moment I thought everything was good and at that moment I thought, there is probably a ghost in all of us.

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