30 September 2013

Wishing for Wings

Day 19: Imagine if you had wings. Are you the only one or does everybody have them? Why?


They vary in size, like ears do. Old people have huge ones. Children have little ones with bright and clean feathers that grey and grow dull with age. Some are hair free. Bare. Bald. Shiny. Like angel wings.

You learn to fly when you're about six. Like when you learn to ride a bike, your Dad holds your hand, and, a few inches off the ground he takes you to the corner shop. Then, in the back garden he'll hold you by the waist while you practice levitation. You forget he's there and don't rely on his support when you fly to the garage door and then into the house to show your Mum, but then knock over a vase and realise why flying indoors is not allowed.
"Not until you master spacial awareness," Dad says. 
Like, it's an actual thing. All human beings face it, but it's not something you'd think to talk about. Children run into things, it's the same with flying. Having wings is difficult, a nuisance, even. But also a gift from God. We are constantly reminded not to curse them when they get wet or dirty. We all get to a certain age, a point in our lives when we can find our way around in the dark, be able to walk down the stairs in pitch black and sit down on a chair without looking. That's mastering spacial awareness. And you're eighteen when it happens.

Who knows when they started sprouting from our backs. It makes us lazy, but everything gets done quicker, and we love that. We can fly to school and work. No need for cars apart from really long journeys. There are rules about how far up we can fly, but they're not very strict - I mean, no one actually patrols it. If you've got asthma, for example, you're required to fly five metres below everyone else in case you need to land in an emergency. If you have an allergy, if you have anything, really, there are rules. You have to take care of yourself. You have to take care of your wings.

The sky is a lot busier. I read and see photos of a time before we had wings, when stars and planets and clouds and sunshine were alone up there, with the occasional aeroplane marking a white line in the sky. It was cleaner, untainted. There are fewer aeroplanes now. Everyone's seen everything. There's no need to travel.

You can break a wing, like any other bone. I never have, because I am careful, and I groom them like I do with my hair. You can have them removed, but it costs a lot of money, and it leaves a scar. It hurts, I've read. There's no point. Now that everyone has them, there's no point. May as well keep them.

Clothes have optional holes for wings. Employers don't care anymore. Not now that everyone has them. Some days people walk. It's a rarity, but it's nice when you see it. Often on Christmas day, families out on a walk, games of football and tennis that refuse to change the rules set thousands and thousands of years ago. Someone's wish came true, a thousand, a million, probably more. Apparently that's what children used to wish for. To have wings, to be able to fly.

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