Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prompt: Drawing spirals in water

 Thanks as always to Artur Rosa for his magical “Drawing spirals in water”!

I can’t fly…not like her anyway. I mean, look at her! She has such perfect form, such control. That’s one of her favorites, that spiral. She does it over water, sand, even on the back of a sleeping elephant once. Now *that* was something, let me tell you. She’s like an ice skater spinning faster, then slower, her hand trailing down, drawing those spirals, her legs sliding smoothly back and forth, her body perfectly parallel to the ground.

I can only do a kind of breaststroke, and most of the time, I can’t get very high off the ground. Never when anyone’s watching. I get too nervous, and then my legs get so heavy and fall down until I am touching the ground. Then I stumble, and fall. I always wish I could curl up into a ball and disappear. But Nicholas is the only one I know who can do that.

But I always try to follow Briana when I see her taking off. I mean, sometimes I can’t keep up, or follow where she’s going. But when I can, I love to float along behind her and watch her perform. Just for herself. For joy. For love of the air. For the barest touch of water or earth on her fingertips.

Sometimes, and I really don’t understand why, I can go higher. Higher even than the trees. Once I caught a thermal, almost by accident. I had gotten up pretty high and was flying along a powerline right of way when I started sinking. So I dropped onto one of those big metal towers and grabbed on. When you stop flying and are up high, like in a tree, falling is even scarier, because you didn’t climb *up* and it’s usually farther down. Anyway, this time, I made a perfect catch with my elbow around a strut and landed balanced on the beam below. I swung around and whooped and scared a hawk that was probably looking for rodents down below. I laughed at the dirty look he gave me as he flapped away. Squatting down, I flapped my arms up and down like he did, trying to imagine what flying that way really felt like. I could never make it work. I still had my eyes closed, and I felt the warm air rising up around me, and I don’t know why, I pushed up like a frog, and then I was in the air, and flapping big strokes up and down, and the warm air was rushing around me, and I was spinning…

But then I opened my eyes and saw what I was doing and freaked out because I was really by god flying like a bird, higher than I ever had flown before, and I was so high the tower looked far below me. And I fell. Broke my collarbone and my thigh and was in the infirmary for like two months going out of my mind.

Briana came and read to me. She just showed up one day, through the open window, and pulled up a chair and settled in and started reading Starship Troopers, and I didn’t have the heart to tell I her I hated it. Alien bugs attacking? Ugh. But she finished that in a few days and then she brought Childhood’s End, and I was hooked.

She came in through the window every day. Sometimes I was sleeping, and I’d wake up, and she’d be there, reading. When she saw I was awake, she’d flip back to where she’d left off and read it again, out loud. We never really talked, even about the books. And I never remember her leaving. Just waiting for her to come in the window.

When they took off the leg cast, my thigh was all white and wrinkly, and so weak I wondered if I’d ever be able to push up into the air again. That night, Briana came in through the window and sat on my bed, just sat there, until I woke up. “It’s not about strength,” she said, resting her hand flat on my leg. “Come on.”

She took my hands and helped me stand. I could still barely put any weight on my leg, and she ulled my arm over her shoulder and helped me to the window. She helped me sit on the ledge and get turned around, so my legs were dangling out the window. With a grin, she climbed out the next window and then appeared in the air in front of me, just hovering. I could never do that, either. She held out her hands.

“Do you trust me?”

I didn't say anything. Didn't take my eyes off hers. I just put my hands in hers and leaned forward….

Dogs in House
Houdini, Brindle

George Winston, Winter Into Spring 20th Anniversary Edition

Time writing
20 minutes (yes, it poured out)

April word count

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