i was in my backyard, and it was night time. my parents were awake in their room- their light was still on. it was about 1am, not super late. i was in the backyard, barefoot, squeezing the grass between my toes and thinking about how beautiful the world was. then i looked up at the sky, which was a little bit misty. only a few stars were showing. i knelt down, and then pushed myself upwards, and flew around for a bit. the flying was like swimming, where i got momentum from being pushed off the ground. however, i didn’t have the strength built up to go for long… but i could glide gracefully. so i kept pushing off the ground and flying a little bit in the backyard. the n my father came out to the porch and i did it in front of him, and he said “i haven’t seen you do that for a while.”
i went inside, to my room, which was the same as my real room- not my usual dream house. it was a little bigger, with more things on the floor- more messy. i sat there for a little while, excited, and finally decided to go outside and practice flying again. i went to the driveway. my parents’ light had gone off. i flew up over the roof, and across the house, and back down to the driveway. then i flew across the street to carolyn’s yard, and pushed myself up without fully getting grounded, and flew back to mine. as i swooped around my window i heard my cell phone ringing, and i perched myself near the roof, but then decided to walk through the door just so i wouldn’t break the screen. the cell phone rang again, and it was brooke, a girl i knew in highschool. she was leaving a message on the machine, and she didn’t know that i had picked up. i didn’t feel like talking, so i just listened to the message and tried not to smile. she was saying “do you remember a performance in highschool where you got up on stage? you still had your voice, and you were really drunk, and you were singing whatever came to your mind. it was really funny. you wore a funny hat…”
and then i had a flashback memory of myself with big sunglasses and a funky hat, and my hair all over the place, at some open mic event, singing like crazy to the kids in the audience and making them laugh. i was singing something about the school, making fun of people, making fun of myself, saying i was the greatest in the world and its too bad im so ugly, stuff like that.
…then my mind returned to the present, her voice on the phone. “i havent talked to you in a while, and i know we aren’t friends, but i just wanted to tell you that this is my strongest memory of you and it’s very fond. thank you. you’re great.” or something like that. and she hung up. so i went back outside and flew all the way down the street and back. when i got back to my driveway i remembered that lenny was probably going to stop by to borrow a book and drop off my other book, and realized i might have missed him. the driveway was silent and the sky was still misty, so it made everything sort of light. even though it was only around 3am, i felt like the sun might be coming up, so i went back inside to go to sleep.
then it was the following night, and i was jumping around the driveway, but only making it as far as the roof. my muscles were sore and i couldnt push myself through the air anymore, but only push upwards and glide. it wasn’t that i wouldnt be able to do it again; i just needed a break. there were more stars in the sky. as i hung around my driveway, lenny pulled up in a car, and i wondered whether i had been mistaken about the date when he was scheduled to show up, but it didnt matter cuz i was awake after all. so i went down to see him where he had parked on the road. rob was with him, and looked very poised, with his hair pretty short, a neat collar shirt, and a constant smile. lenny was a little bit grungy like he had been partying, and his mood was serene. they asked what i had been doing and in a very quiet voice i said, “i’ve been flying!” and they both sort of laughed. lenny seemed to believe me a little, or not really care whether it was a lie, because he generally has a cool “whatever you say” sort of attitude. but rob did not believe me. he said sarcastically, “flying? well i’ll be.” i said i could show them… except i was pretty sore and wouldnt be able to go far. i crouched down right there on the road, preparing to push myself up, but having trouble getting off the ground because i knew i wasn’t supposed to show anybody. i realized that and tried to think of a way to make it look as though i had been joking, and forget the issue. but then a cop pulled up and rolled their window down. he was in a mostly white police car, and his search lights were on in the front.
“which one of you lives here?” he asked, and i stepped forward.
“someone was flying in the neighborhood last night,” he said.
“flying?” i asked, acting shocked. “how could that be?”
“he was wearing a red shirt,” the cop said. he eyed lenny and rob quickly, and neither of them were wearing red shirts. “he has very long hair. do you know him?”
“well… how could he have been flying?” i asked. “did he have a plane?”
“no, ma’am, he was flying on his own.”
“well, no, i dont know anyone like that.”
“you don’t know any young men in this neighborhood with long hair?”
“okay, thank you. here is my card. let me know if you think of anyone.”
the cop pulled away. lenny and rob were sort of chuckling, and sort of uneasy. lenny asked, “is flying illegal?”
and i said, “i wish i had thought to ask the cop!” i considered chasing down the cop but he had already rounded the corner. “should i fly after him and ask him?” i joked.
“they thought you were a guy,” rob said.
“well actually, it may not have been me,” i said, realizing it onl y as i said it. “i don’t have a red shirt.”
“so you think someone else was flying?” rob asked.
“i doubt anyone else who lives around here can fly… but you never know,” i said. i got really hopeful, thinking about how cool it would be to meet some guy with long hair in a red shirt who could fly. we could race, or leave notes on each other’s roofs. but then i looked at lenny, and i thought that i wouldn’t care either way because he couldn’t possibly be as cute as lenny. lenny was looking out through his glasses with wide, sad eyes. i didn’t know whether he was thinking something, or if that was just the default look he has in his eyes these days.
after that i went inside. i think they had to leave, and i dont remember how they said goodbye, but i do remember that they were very shocked and amazed about the flying and the cop incident. they would be talking about it for the rest of the night, for sure.
i went to my room. tiger was all curled up in a red dress on the floor. although the red dress did not click in my mind as something i actually remembered, there was something familiar about it, as though i had worn it in another dream or another life. tiger was very much tied up in it, playing with the straps, his paws all over the place. i had to unwind it from his teeth and his paws. as i did so, money came out of it. i don’t know where the pocket was, but somehow the dress was holding money. there was a wad of bills. three of them had writing on them. one was a $20, and it said, in girlish handwriting, “money you don’t want to spend unless it’s absolutely necessary. erica, you rock” or something like that. it was probably money someone had given me and written a note on. the next was a $1 bill with a note from alyssa from boston. i dont remember the exact note but it was something like “hey sweet pea, this is my phone number, it was great meeting you.” there was another $5 with a lot of writing on it in a black marker on both sides, but it was messy and i didn’t take the time to read it. another bill was a $25 bill, which i had never seen before. the last bill was scrunched up seperately and was just a regular $1, without any writing on it. i began to unscrunch them so i could fold them into my wallet. as i did so, i wondered where that red dress came from, and realized i couldn’t remember what i had been wearing when i was flying the previous night. was that me, or another person in a red shirt? what made them so sure it was a guy? was it a girl in a red dress, and they were trying to throw me off, to see how i would respond? these questions were running through my mind and the bills were being unscrunched very slowly in my hands when i woke up.