As Long As We Fly

As Long As We Fly

It was a hard time. And hard times seem to have no end. I didn’t know how to get away and I didn’t think I could. The reason why people disappear from the world – take themselves away – one way or another. The reason people wish they could fly. The reason science hasn’t yet (fully) taken the place of religion.

Science saved my life – yes – but it didn’t make me want to live.

All of the questions, endless questions gnawing at me like Poppy on a chicken bone that keep me awake at night and then put me into a deep sleep I try and stay in forever. Wrapped up in blankets. Blankets wrapped tight around me like a burrito. This is how how Frank would say it. Say it to me.

“I’ll wrap you up like a burrito.”

But can he answer these questions? Can he tell me why I feel the way I do?

To the hospital

We rush downstairs. Gogo bleeding in my arms. My roommate Mike jerking off/on in his room. He didn’t expect anyone to open his door at that moment. But he has a car.

His face is red. “Don’t you -“

“We have to go to the hospital.

“Don’t you knock?”

Gogo bleeding and her eyes rolled back in her head turning white. The light from overhead coruscates in the sweat from her forehead and the spinning fan.

I say and we have no time, “We need to go the hospital now right now.

The night is quiet at least. No one on the road. One small blessing. Warm summers everyone up north at their cabins, sitting on lakes and drinking beer with fire and fire-roasted meat in front of them. No one on the street to get in our way. I tell Mike to drive fast, faster, faster. Gogo’s eyes flutter open for a moment and then closed with each burst of light that flashes from streetlamps past the window. Her head rolls against my arm. I hold her shoulders and put my cheek against hers.

“Fast, faster, faster.”

Mike cursing low beneath his breath. He rubs his thigh nervous with the hand he doesn’t use to steer. Cars will drive themselves soon. But people will still get nervous. I look down at Gogo and it looks like she is smiling. I know that’s just from the way her head is laying against my shoulder with her chin tilted forward, her eyes closed long eyelashes dark and low like an anime character. Or like a movie star because only a screen of that size would be big enough to hold her. Streetlights shooting bullets past the window. Mike’s foot heavy on the gas. The rattle of the engine like popcorn accelerating through yellow lights turning red..

“Faster, Mike.”

“Going fast as I can.”

And then we are there. The wide hospital mouth like Moloch open as the doors open wide and for a second I don’t want to let her go. I don’t want to let her go when the stretcher arrives and the doctor pushes his white coat and cologne smell in front of me and starts asking questions I don’t really have the answers to.

It takes twelve hours. No. It takes seventeen hours. It takes all night and all morning before we know anything. I don’t sleep. Gogo’s sister Poppy is sitting with her legs dangling over the side of the plastic chairs we sit on in the lobby. In the waiting room. And there is nothing to do but wait.

Her parents look old and lost and tired. Her parents are old and lost and tired. As Poppy looks at me and smiles. She has a dimple in her left cheek. The lights are bright. We wait. We wait and look at the floor. People come and go. People laugh, cry. The room is busy like a restaurant but without anything to eat. Gogo’s mom drinks coffee from a paper cup. Gogo’s dad shakes and rubs his red mustache with his fingers. They don’t look at me at all.

Poppy looks at the lights on the ceiling.

Poppy looks at me and smiles a sad smile with wide eyes and nothing to say.

Fly Home

I didn’t know where I was but I didn’t care. I could hear unfamiliar sounds all around me. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything anymore, just the warm blanket wrapped tight around me keeping me safe and warm and ready to eat. I remember thinking the whole world seemed unfamiliar and I guess it still does. 

But like Frank says, “If we could fly, the world would have no end.”

We can’t fly but we can run. We don’t have wings but that won’t stop us from trying. Moving faster and faster without any real thought for where we might end up. To stop is to die and each moment we’re alive is eternal. Until the next one, and the next. I know this now. And if there is one reason to keep moving…

Someday we might fly after all.

I put it down on paper, all of it, so I can learn from it later. I write about what I think. And what I thought then. And what I feel. I write it down so I can learn from it later, or maybe someone else can. I have notebooks full of words, sitting on my shelf near the bed, writing with a pen I got from school.

But – I can never be sure if I’m the writer, or if I’m the words on the page.

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As Long As We Fly