Fear of Flying
They were stuck on that damn island with no way to get off. A horrible, horrible maze of a place with the threat of danger all around. Months of work, finally finished and now they couldn’t get home.
Of course, it was dad’s idea to come here. Lured by the prospect of easy money and the promise of glory his inventor’s mind had gone into overdrive. Was he a genius? Or a madman? I wondered if all he wanted was for us to go down in history.
Mum was right, we should never have got involved with that bullheaded prick in the first place. The project had gone on far too long and, this was how we got paid. Death threats! I suppose I was too young to question the danger. They always said I was too young and high-spirited. Blah! Blah! Blah! I just kept those thoughts to myself, as usual. But now I knew the worst was coming.
The worst had come: Dad wanted us to fly out. I had seen it in a dream. The same dream over and over, ever since I can remember. We were running, then flying, soaring towards the sun. And then, falling, always in silence. Not fear for flying –fear of falling.
It didn’t help that my father knew I was terrified. He was such an optimist. “Listen, Ike,” dad said, “I know you are tired. I am too. But it’s the only way out of this place.” His old eyes were strong as ever. But all I could do was mumble over and over “This is the end.”
So I was caught between a rock (in the ocean) and a hard place. There really was no other way. Dad arranged everything and made sure that I was as secure as possible. I even saw a tear slide down his check as he strapped me in. “It’s not far,” he said looking out over the ocean. “We won’t go too high or low. You should be able to see the sea at all times.” But I wasn’t really listening, I was staring into the dream, its premonition reverberating through my spine.
We were running, then flying, then soaring. I finally managed to exhale: we were in the sky. Old fears were cast off like old skins as I sped between the gods of the sea and the sun. This was great. The pain of our island hell seemed so far behind us. I forgot about home, mum, the island. I forgot about dad. He seemed far below me now. I had found my space.
I lost sight of the sea. I was going for the sun. I’d waited my whole damn life just to make that flight. And as the wax melted and the feathers blew in the wind I thought “Well Icarus, isn’t this ironic.”