“I dreamed I was flying last night,” she said.

“I know,” said her companion.  “I was there.”

Her eyes were distant as she gazed out of the high rise windows; past the buildings, towards the yellowish sunlit towers of cloud beyond.  She leaned her chin on her fist, sighing, “It was wonderful.  I used to dream of flying when I was a kid,” she continued, wistfully.  “I never appreciated what a wonderful thing it was, until one day, I realised that I couldn’t do it any longer.”  Her eyes began to sting.  “I miss it so much.”

“I know,” said her companion, again.

She sat there, lost in thought for a while, her chin still resting on her fist, staring at nothing physical.

Gloom gathered, pooling in the corners of the room – casting the familiar as strange.  Alien objects squatted in the midafternoon twilight.

A tap on the window focussed her eyes back into the tangible, shaking her mind from its reverie to watch as fat drops began to tap more insistently, splatting on the sill of the open window.  A brief, actinic flash illuminated the room’s recent strangeness, rendering the unfamiliar momentarily more sharp and immediate.  She pointed with her chin.  “It was out there – just outside that window.  I was soaring out above the crosswalk, watching the people scurrying about below me.  They were so far away…  so small…”  She frowned, then, “There was something white in the middle of the crosswalk.  I’m not sure what it was, but I didn’t like it, so I looked up, instead.  The clouds were lit up like billows of icing sugar – so clean and white…” she trailed off.

“I know,” reiterated her companion.  “I was there, remember?”

She turned her head to regard her companion, who gazed back, steadily.  Both pairs of eyes became focussed not on each other, but on the infinite – contemplating some inner landscape as the hiss and splatter of the rain increased, and a sullen rumble of thunder rolled and crashed between the buildings.

Thunder and lightning drew closer together, and the rain redoubled its efforts.

At length, her companion ventured, “You know, you can fly.”

She sighed, looked at her companion.  Her companion looked back.  “No.  I can’t.”

“Of course you can,” her companion insisted.  “You know how it feels to swoop, and to soar – don’t you?  What it feels like to dive through the air with nothing between you and gravity but the belief that it doesn’t apply to you – nothing but your imagination.  Deep down, you know you can.  It’s a function of the soul.”

She smiled, sadly.  “That’s as may be, but you know as well as I that I don’t have a soul.  There’s… just… this.”  She waved the hand that was not supporting her chin in a gesture that took in the crepuscular room – the very mirror of her soulless existence.  “My soul trickled away long ago.  Like the flying dreams – I hardly noticed until it was gone.  I swapped it,” here, her mouth took on a bitter twist, “For security.  Being protected.  Submerged myself in his world.”  She sighed again, tears once more began to prick her eyes.  “What am I going to do?”

“Get it back,” was the sparse reply.

“How?”

“Easy.  You just have to decide, deep down – in your heart and in your gut – that you want it.  Then you reach out and take it.”

“It’s not that easy!” she snapped, her tears turning to frustrated anger.  She rose and began pacing the room in the semi-darkness, glaring at her companion every time she passed.  Back and forth, back and forth she paced, between the still-open window (and the now-damp carpet beneath), and the back wall of the long, narrow room.

“it is simplicity itself.  You can do it.” insisted her companion, from somewhere in the middle of her transit.

She marched back and put her angry face very close to that of her companion, shouting, “It isn’t simple.  I can not!”  Her face was red, and twisted with her rage.  So, she was surprised to discover, was her companion’s.

They glared at each other.

“It is.  You can,” came the softly persuasive reply.

Her body was trembling with the wash of her ire at the obstinacy of her companion.  Gradually, though, the trembling subsided towards a stillness, under her companion’s steady gaze.  Her mind, however, was roiling.  Perhaps, just perhaps, you could regain your soul.  If you wanted it enough, and stood up and demanded it in a loud and clear voice, was it not at least possible that your soul might be returned?  Even after it’s been thoroughly abused, and ripped piece by piece from your still-living body by one who, you realised too late, you despised?  Even after you realise you despise who you are when you are with them?

She took a deep breath , closed her eyes, and drew a stillness around herself.

Silently, but with every fibre of her being, she demanded of the cosmos that it returned that which was hers.  She reopened the scabbed-over hollow in her chest where her soul had nestled so happily when she’d dreamed of flying.  She waited.

Eventually, the cosmos answered , and that which was hers began to shyly, steadily trickle back to the place where it belonged.  She could feel the void that she’d desperately tried to pretend didn’t exist, beginning, slowly, to fill.

At length, the last drop returned, and she felt a steady warmth begin to radiate out.  An expanding bubble of joy spread from behind her sternum.  It grew rapidly, tingling through her shoulders and hips, shooting through her bones until it reached the very tips of her fingers, toes and scalp.

Opening her eyes, she saw the storm had moved on whilst she had stood there, regaining what was rightfully hers.  The clouds behind the buildings were lit up bright white, the air washed clean by the storm.

She knew, now, that her companion was right.  Without stopping to consider her actions, she ran.

She caught the flash of a smile composed of pure joy as she passed her companion, all the while picking up speed until she spread her arms wide and leapt from the window into the sparkling air beyond.

Laughing with the sheer joy of the moment, she barely noticed something fall away from her as she swooped up and away from the window.  It landed, sprawling in the centre of the crosswalk, so far below.

She dipped and twisted and soared in total abandon and, as the faint screams began to sound from below, she disappeared into the long, delirious, burning blue.

Advertisements