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Leaving Ernie ... and other things

A little fiction story I wrote in writing group today (and therefore written in response to a prompt and written very quickly in about 20 minutes, with little opportunity to think while moving the pen). It's mostly decompressed description, but heavily related to my childhood, my current struggle for a sense of power in my own life, and the time period when we left Ernie.


She jumped off the roof when she was 7. She just had the feeling that she could do it, and it sounded like fun, and she wanted to, so she did.

It was wonderful. Time seemed to slow down as she felt her hair streaming above her — above her! — as it was caught in the wind she was creating with her own velocity.

She saw the houses and hedges and lawns and streets around her, the neighborhood she saw every day, where she played with her friends and ran after the ice cream truck, but she saw them from a new perspective, from above, and while moving at a previously unimaginable speed. The world around her held its breath and watched her in awe, the houses' windows around her wide with amazement, as she flew off the roof of her house and alit gracefully on the weedy front lawn.

The crabgrass prickled against the bottoms of her bare feet as she stood and looked out at the world around her — what five minutes ago she would have called her world — and suddenly it seemed frozen, as if only she were in motion. The sunlight seemed to shine on her alone, and the neighbors' houses and lawns faded into the background as she forgot the feel of the crabgrass and looked up into a sky washed pale.

And then she leaned up a bit, resting on the balls of her feet for a moment, and then she flew.

Her hair streamed behind her now, but she didn't fly like Superman or Peter Pan in the movies, with her arms outstretched and her body held rigidly horizontal. She flew as if she were swimming in an ocean of air, a pale blue infinite ocean of sky.

The neighborhood beneath her shrank smaller, until first the crabgrass and then the windows and then the houses disappeared from her view.

"Where shall I go?" she wondered, knowing that there were no limits, that the answer could be anything she wanted it to be. She could fly to Paris or to Tibet or to the moon!

But she decided to fly to the ocean, where the different shades of blue — the sea and the sky — stretched out ahead of her as far as she could see. She flew until the people and the houses and the streets and even the beach were far behind her, and it was just her and the sky and the sun and the sea. She flew and flew, with nothing to get in her way, with only the wind tickling the bottoms of her bare feet, until the sun washed her the same pale blue as the sky.


Tomorrow I see the cataract surgeon. This makes me almost unbearably happy.

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