Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Title: Flying
Genre: General
Word Count: 319
Rating: G

“Do you want to fly, baby girl?”

I remember being small when he used to ask me that; it stopped by the time I was five years old and my little sister was old enough that she got to fly instead. But I still remember, in the foggy recesses of my mind, how it felt to be swooped off the ground and held high in the air. Even from six feet up, the ground looked much smaller to my child’s eye.

He stopped doing it when I was five, but I didn’t stop wanting to fly. I always tried to get higher, to feel the wind in my hair and to feel the thrill of being that much closer to the sky. Through a childhood of Ferris wheels at the fair and swing sets at the playground, there was never any question of what I wanted to do.

I imagine that my life flashes before my eyes as I sit here in the cockpit, waiting to take off, and this is the result: a series of events that led me right here. Enlisting in the navy, technical school, the years of training and drilling—I regret none of it, even as the air around me vibrates with the tension of an oncoming battle, even as the sky fills with smoke and shouts and bombs and live fire. There won’t be anything to catch me up there, no strong arms to keep me safe if I fall, and significantly more than six feet between me and solid ground, but I am not afraid.

And then I am cleared for takeoff, starting the engine, and putting on my oxygen mask. It all happens so fast, but over the roar of the engine and the sounds of explosions in the distance, I can still hear my father’s voice in the back of my mind.

“Do you want to fly, baby girl?”