The French have a phrase for it—l'appel du vide. The call of the void. That primal urge to jump from a high place, to walk in front of a bus, to plunge a steak knife into your throat. We are fascinated by our frailty. The complexity of our thoughts(more) makes us feel permanent, invulnerable, yet at the same time we're aware that we could cease to be with one simple action. The void sings, dark and unknowable.
We will banish the thought, unsettled that it even surfaced, and go on with our lives without incident. Death is patient. But it will remind us, now and then, that it waits.
Once more we'll encounter an abyss and think, as the world slants slightly askew, 'I can't fly, so I think I'll fall.'(less)
When she reaches an end point, she has to face the truth. She had been in self-denial for so long, sometimes she forget what in her life is true.
Her once shining armor has now rusted over, weighing her down more than ever. Every step she took was accompanie(more)d by a loud, screeching noise so terrible it could only be compared to the grating sound of her stifled heart.
They give her medals and shields, to honor and protect. They give her weapons and artillery, to fight and liberate. These things don't free her: they keep her steady. They keep her on the ground with the burden of expectations, heavier than any substance. She keeps her head high and fights on, but the weight tries to get her closer and closer to the ground.
They try to convince her that she can't fly. She tries to convince herself that she can't fly.
Her wings have become invisible to the naked eye, but they are always present. In her eyes, in her dreams, and in the still-fighting part of her suppressed heart: there is flight.
When the time comes, no metal, no authority, no duty will keep the rust on her.
There is flight in her and so, she will fly. (less)
I stand at the edge of the cliff, my arms outstretched.
'Please, stop!' Mark screams behind me. 'You can't fly! You can't!'
I've decided that after I come back from my fly I will no longer be friends with Mark. I don't need that kind of negativity in m(more)y life.(less)
I've already told her about ten times. "You can't fly!" She won't listen to me. She's sitting across from me, perched, eyes bright and forward. I can see the light peeking out behind the giant black irises. It's cheeky -- mischievous. She blinks.
(more) "I'm serious, you really can't fly. You're going to hurt yourself." A brief flash and I can tell she thought about looking at me. But of course, she's too cool to actually make eye contact with me when I want her to. To her, eye contact is an affront.
"Last chance or I'm going to have to lock you up."
She lets out a small grunt and jumps from the edge of the couch and flails -- very very quickly and not gracefully -- and falls, just barely missing the bookshelf.
"That won't fly, and it never will, its made of steel it can't."
"Sir you do not understand the mechanics behind this invention. I assure you it will fly, your life is not in danger."
He was a suborn man, Mr. Schmitt, a man with great charisma and respect among the denizens of this city.
"Now listen here Jones, I don't need to understand any of your fancy mechanisms or fancy whoo-dingys. That is a giant metal death trap and none one in this city is going up in the air in that. Leave it to the birds to fly!"
Approving clapping resonated from the audience in front of us.
* * *
"Do you remember when you told me to leave this to the birds Mr. Schmitt?"
"I do, an' I still mean it. Man wasn't meant to be up this high. Dangerous to be this close to the heavenly spheres."
"I didn't know you were a God-fearing man?"
"I like to think the birds are how angles appear to us in this world."
He turned his gaze to his left, looking through the shinning metal cockpit and out at the city below, smoke rising from the pillars and loud bangs from the factories.
I can't fly. Not that I've ever tried to know, but how society is convincing me to believe. There are people who are close, I see their wings, they're beautiful. I always assume they only fly when no else is looking. When I'm fixed on the squares of my(more) ceiling at night, when you're eyes are dancing in spreadsheets at work, they fly. I still believe I have the capabilities to grow wings, though, even when the world's gravity pulls so hard my feet hurt. Tomorrow I will go on a hill, I'd say sometimes. Maybe then my flying instincts will kick in. I can't fly, yet. 'Yet,' I'd tell myself when the squares of the ceiling fades into dreams.(less)
The phone lights up with a little whistle to alert her. It's unexpected so she takes a moment to blink at it before setting down her pencil and abandoning the research paper she hadn't even put a dent in.
(more) A friend. No, sorry, a pity taker. Friend is a foreign word to her and she wonders if it will be for the rest of her life. However long that may be.
"Cum out w us!!"
Maybe the grammatical apathy is what distances her, well not the only thing but it certainly adds just enough. Though even if it had been typed with the care and concern of Hemingway she would still be hesitating at this moment.
Her finger hovers over the little square "y" - the first letter of the affirmative not the metaphorical question she always asks herself. She tries to will her thumb to press down on it but something stops her.
No, everything stops her.
Everything from the soreness in her wrist to the fading bruises on her bicep and the soft rhythmic sound of her mother crying in the kitchen. Everything about the gruff shouting she heard an hour ago to the little crack in the window near the door that appeared when it slammed behind him.
No, the "y" button is long forgotten as the "c" followed by the "a-n-apostrophe-t"are sent out into the world and the light woosh sound of a text being sent is oddly reminiscent of a cage door being closed and subsequently locked.
"Can't, unfinished chores" is what the text says, but the subtext is clipped wings and hidden keys.
The sad looks her pity takers must be sharing before the shrug off the little bird with the broken wings who they've never seen take flight, who they assume can't fly.(less)
His back aches like hell, flaming pain in lightning strike wounds from his shoulder blades to his hips. They're bright white lines that pulse and throb and sting, interrupting his thoughts and stilling his tongue. All he can do is sob(more), bitter tears stinging his eyes and running into his pillow with snot. His hair is stuck to his skin with sweat.
The anesthesia is not enough. The anesthesia is never enough.
Corbin screams into the blackness, his face pressed against his pillow. With a great act of will, he rolls over so he's laying on his stomach. Even that movement, nothing touching his back, is enough to make it start screeching in pain again. Corbin can't make a sound; he exhausted his energy screaming and moving. He wants to fall asleep, but he can't.
The pain throbs into his mind and every limb, aching in his bones and sending messages of pain from his eyeballs to the balls of his feet. His heart is pounding probably five times too fast, rattling his chest. The steady thrum of the lifeline on his arm periodically injects insulin or glucose into his blood, automatically correcting for any highs or lows caused by the surgery.
Corbin squeezes his eyes shut and drowns in the tears on the pillow. He wants to smother himself and die. What is there to live for, anyway? He drove away the only light in his darkness, and he will always be trapped in this room. After all, without his wings, he can't fly.(less)
"You'll never bloody be able to do it. It's bloody impossible!" The elderly wizard shouted at his apprentice as he stamped his staff.
"But Master Thun. I swear I rose off the ground just yesterday! I just do the incantation I told you about, and these gestures," The(more) young teenager started weaving his hands around in front of him, forming runes and symbols with his fingers.
Thun grabbed at the boy's hands. "You stop that now, you foolish child. Before you kill yourself, or even worse, before you kill the pair of us. You don't know what you're doing."
The apprentice pulled out of the grip and stalked back to his room. Stamping and grumbling as he went.
"I'll show the old fool. I know I can do it."
The young apprentice started the incantation and the gestures once he was holed up in the confines of his room.
The old wizard walked back to his study, his great beard quivering as he shook his head. Almost as soon as he had closed the heavy wooden door to his study, a loud, shattering explosion rocked the tower to it's core.
The wizard sat down wearily.
"And there goes another one. Bloody youngsters these days. Always push themselves too far."(less)
His face is dry, but the ground isn't. He shifts his weight, his shoes already soaked from all the puddles he stepped in on the way up. There's someone down below. Someone he loves. Someone who loves him. They're calling his name, but he can't hear them. He can(more) only hear his own heartbeat, going three times faster than usual. His dark hair hangs around his gaunt face almost like a curtain. He looks down at the person. His lover. He mouths two words.
The boy on the ground is frantic. He's yelling at his boyfriend, yelling his name, yellig comforts, yelling pleadses and I'm sorries and I love yous. He can tell that the tall, sad boy on the rooftop can't hear him though. That or he's just not paying attention.
He's in the middle of saying I love you when the boy is gone. He's no longer on the rooftop. He's tumbling through the air, his arms spread out by his sides. Free falling. The boy on the ground knows he can't fly. He runs over, but it's too late.
The boy on the rooftop isn't the boy on the rooftop any longer. He's the boy on the ground. The dead boy on the ground. The ground is wet, and so is his lover's face.
Despite how often you may want to, you can't leave. Leaving is considered cowardice. You're stuck here, with everyone else. No one gets to skip ahead, not really. You're trapped, much like rats, the whole lot of you. Possibly easier than rats, more like doves with broken wings. Once(more) beautiful, now damned and hideous. Used and discarded. You're trapped due to a disability, a disability caused by society. Without their harsh treatment and cruel standards, you might have been pure, and beautiful. But their words crippled you and broke you until you could handle it no longer. Your strength and will gone, you're just a broken dove with broken wings.(less)
I can't fly. I know you keep telling me that it's all a matter of time, that one day I'll figure out how to, but I don't think that's true for me. No matter where I am, who I'm with, I'll never be able to fly. I'm stuck here,(more) rooted to the ground.
I see what's out there, what's waiting for me. But I'm separated from it by an ocean that I'll never cross. I'm hopeless.
Someday I'll grow wings, just like everyone else. But unlike all the soaring eagles or the majestic herons or even the ratty old vultures, I won't be able to fly. I'm a penguin, I just waddle around slipping on the ice, trying not to fall into the ocean.
Don't let me hold you back though. My chains shouldn't be yours as well. I've tried sharing their weight with other people, but they end up getting only heavier. I offer to share the weight, but people just dump off all their baggage on me.
Don't worry about me, I'll get better. I'm just feeling down again, and I'll probably feel better in the morning just like you said that one time. I'll never fly though. I've tried and I can't.
I'll be a happy penguin. I'm content with that. They get to swim and waddle without any cares, except for a bit of cold. And even when their penguin-partner leaves to cross the Antarctic and get ready for their egg, they still know there's someone waiting for them at the end of the journey.
As long as I don't get too close to the edge of the ice and I stay away from the polar bears, I'll be fine. I'm happier doing that than risking it, anyway.
Her eyes raised she saw images like music. Clear drops fell from heavy leaves, bobbing weights of verdant dance. And out under the edge of this precipitous reckoning she looked to great dark plaques streaming in high wind across yellow skies. Her toes curled over lose rock as she(more) lifted her arms out in two parallel human lines over the sprawling canyon below. A crystal ball of water fell upon her arm driving a moist channel across the warm dry skin of her arm, a channel like that driven into the ravine before by centuries of river water on stone. She imagined for a moment herself as stone, standing under this tree until the dripping rain wore her away. She was broken from this missing by a rustling above her head, looking up in time to see great wings unfurling in the branches and shifting sharply as the magnificent creature dove mere feet away into the great expanse. It struck her as sad, though we may try, humans can't fly.(less)