No Wings to Fly
Matthew Lu | Art by Hanzen Shou
You said, “Let’s see how far we can go today!”
You always told me to test my limits. Our twelve-year old selves both wanted to explore. We went to discover meadows and gardens and beaches together; but only you would go search the caves, the volcanoes, or the creaky old house. That’s why everyone said you shined brightly. I wanted to shine just as brightly, but I was too scared. That’s why everyone said I lived only in your shadows.
We finally reached the top of the mountain. We had come here so many times; the ocean breeze would gently blow on our faces as we stood on the edge of the cliff. We stayed here for hours every time, listening to the song of the seagulls. I rested here, in this fairy dream, thinking that one day I might become better than you.
Blue—it meant so much to you. Every time, you would lay down, feeling the tiny blades of grass tickle the sides of your ears. The sun was always shining for you; its warm rays would gently beat on your face. You looked up to see the sky. You told me that you wanted to play on the fluffy clouds. The sky told you there were many things in the world, some unimaginable. And you wanted to go discover those things.
Blue—was something else to me. It was the color of water, the color of tears; it reminded me of all the times I cried in the corner when you were praised. You thought we were so similar, yet I couldn’t help but start to notice our little differences. Obviously, you wouldn’t see things the same way I did, since you never got the short end of the stick.
Every time at the mountaintop, you looked up at the sky. However, I always looked down at the ocean. I stood up feeling the breeze, but you always laid down. From so high up on the cliff, I looked down. I wanted to go down to the depths of the sea. I wanted to see my reflection on the flowing water, but there was no reflection to be seen. How much closer do I have to be to see myself?
“Do you think we could fly?” You looked at me with your determined eyes. “I want to be carried by the sea breeze.” You picked up a daisy and plucked the petals. You dropped them one by one, watching them dance in the air. Analyzing each movement, you told me you wanted to be a flower like that.
Before I could respond, you jumped off the cliff. I thought you were falling at first, but then I saw you fly. Flying through the air. You seemed to be having the time of your life, flying and singing with the seagulls. I wanted to join you, but could I do it?
You yelled, “Come fly with me!” I tried to move closer to the edge, but I couldn’t. Only one thought filled my head: “If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?”
I wanted to be like you, but I could never jump off too. I’d followed you everywhere, so why couldn’t I jump off with you?
Well, I didn’t think I could fly.
I still don’t think I could fly.
But I want to fly too. Tonight during dinner, everyone was talking about how you flew today. I want to be like you. I wanted to be talked about, to be praised. It’s about midnight now, and I haven’t stopped thinking for a moment about how much everyone loves you. We could’ve been the two that flew together. Instead, you were the only one.
I want to do something amazing, something outstanding, something that will make everyone want to talk about me. Now, I’m going to fly higher than you ever did. You said the sky’s the limit, but I have to go past the sky and to the sun.
I wanted you to come, but would you take all the fame again? All the praise again? That’s right, I have to do this alone. Without you.
I walk outside of my room, fully hidden in the darkness. No one sees me escape, so I run to the top of the mountain and stand by the cliff. The breeze is especially strong tonight, stronger than I’ve ever felt it. It’s pushing me with more force, and I find it hard just to stand without moving.
I move closer to the edge and look down at the ocean. It’s a deeper hue of blue, but that’s probably because there’s no light. Oddly enough, I like it more this way.
I’m going to fly like you did.
I close my eyes.
But I’m falling.
‘ I f