photo by Roberto Kusterle
When she gave herself time to sit and think about it, she wondered if perhaps there were other people who also had them. They were a bit of a nuisance at times. Sleeping on her back had become a distant, hazy memory. When she drove her car she had to put the seat so far back to get herself in that the seat belt barely reached around her. On every journey she could feel them straining against the leather. They wanted to know why she bothered driving at all.
The longer she had them, the bigger and brighter they seemed to get. But that wasn’t all. They had begun to get demanding. “Fly,” they would whisper whenever she chose to walk somewhere.
“I can’t,” she’d whisper back through gritted teeth. “People aren’t supposed to fly. I’d attract too much attention.”
“Fly!” They demanded as she waited in long lines. “Fly!” They would sing as she ran through the park.
But she could not listen to them. People didn’t fly. People were supposed to stay with their feet firmly on the ground.
But sometimes, late at night when the world was asleep, she would take off the disguise of ordinary human clothing and let them out for a stretch. Then and only then they would dream together of everything she could be. Her dreams dripped from the tips of them in swirls of colour and ink and light. In the privacy of her room she existed in a world of possibility and potential. Then, creativity appeased, they would fly together as high as the moon and laugh at all of the ways that she had tried to keep herself small.
In the morning she would pretend again that they weren’t there. Occasionally she thought she glimpsed a pair under the clothes of a stranger, but she realized that other people must be as good at hiding them as she was.
Someday maybe she would be brave enough to show them to the world. Someday maybe she would show everyone else the way. But in the meantime she would keep them to herself, no matter how much they whispered, no matter how much they itched and no matter how much they wanted her to fly.
She would keep her secret because she remembered a time that was much, much worse. She could remember a time when they hadn’t realized that they were there at all.