I would begin by walking, slowly at first, and then I would pick up momentum as I neared the edge of the hill on our street and my feet would lift off the pavement, into the invisible air and then higher, and higher.
The wind would pick me up and I would soar above my neighbourhood, above the earth. I would dip down, skimming the rooftops and then I would fly back up again, using my arms to part the air as I climbed. I would fly at night, and in the sunshine, and in the rain. There were days I ventured passed the familiar and would discover river valleys and mountains and city streets. When I grew tired, I would land as gentle as a butterfly, back on solid ground.
Though many told me I must have been dreaming, I knew that simply wasn’t true. If it were just a dream why could I remember it so clearly? Why could I taste the wind on my tongue, hear it singing in my ears, feel it as it coursed through my bones and made my heart beat fast. If it wasn’t real, why did I know what it was to feel so light, so peaceful, so free?
Around five years old I decided to prove it. Our home had a steep set of stairs connecting the second floor to the main level. My intention was to take off, and then proceed to fly around my house doing aerial acrobatics and impressing all the naysayers with my invisible wings.
I stood at the top step, took a deep breath, lifted off, flew for a dazzling moment and then came crashing down and broke my mother’s beautiful ceramic urn that was holding umbrellas at the bottom of the staircase.
I remember being impressed that my head was hard enough to break a big clay pot without needing any stitches.
I also remember deciding in that moment to never again try to prove to anyone that I could fly.
There was a time when I believed that anything was possible. When I believed in faeries, and magic, and wishing wells, and in dreaming dreams bigger than the sky. When I knew I could just fly up there and catch them like a falling star in the night.
I want to believe in all those things again. I want to collect the wings I left gathering dust in the basement, brush them off and fly.
I’ll go further this time. Take off from the top step – and this time, I won’t fall.
I’ll watch the trees get smaller and smaller. I’ll soar so high I’ll see the magic and the beauty in all the corners of the whole wide world.