Image by Prozac1 courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net
It was that heartbreaking dusk, the time of day when the all the lights come on and the sky glows pink as the sun fades and the orange phosphorescence of the lamps melts into the darkening blue of a cold winter sky. The day dies, and night steals in.
I looked out of the window at the street; I got out of my chair to look, because it was so beautiful out there. People were walking down below, they were bundled up like presents, their scarves trailed in the wind like ribbons.
Aching from sitting down too long, I reached over and opened a window to let the cool evening in. I wanted the air to wash over me and clear all my thoughts away.I closed my eyes and drifted. I stepped through the window and into the air.
Breezes caught under my arms, and like a sea-bird I drifted for a while on the current. Traffic sounds buzzed up from beneath me like flies but I let them sail past. I wanted to travel down towards the sea front where the waves were, and where crashing water would wash the sentences away. I didn’t want to see words on a page, or on a screen anymore. I didn’t want them to suffocate me, so I flew south down towards the coast.
I passed little streets were the cars were just lights twinkling. I saw rubbish rustling past and hurrying away, born on the wind like I was. Filled with air, plastic bags take on new forms, like sails. They gain a life of their own, free from their burdens and set off on amazing journeys we can only guess at, only to fall somewhere, redundant, when the wind dies.
I opened my eyes as soon as I smelt the salt. There was the sea, stretching out below me,vast and shaking. White crests foamed and crashed, and seagulls dashed in and out, hoping for snacks, calling to one another.I longed then to speak to them, and for some company on my travels, but there was no one else. Up here, when I chose to fly, I would always be alone, and invisible.
Night seemed to come on suddenly as I skimmed the coast line. The moon reared up out of obscurity and loomed over the crumbling white pier like a ghost. I looked at it full in the face and it looked back.I often find that looking at the moon gives me a strange sort of strength, a power, a new vigour. Perhaps it calls to the magical part of me, the old part. It stirs it up and pulls it out and it does feel like a struggle, to succumb to the moon. But afterwards I feel renewed, my skin tingles, and so I never get tired of looking at it, that silver orb. The sun burns your eyes but the moon warms your soul up, like boiling water on a stove.
I heard voices down on the promenade. There were people sitting on the benches, sitting on the ground, standing around. The sounds they made were raw and they joked with one another but there was a pain in it. I heard the empty bottles hitting the ground, smashing, so I drifted on.There is nothing sadder in this world than the sound of futile enjoyment, than the sound of enjoyment without joy in it.They threw their cigarettes into the wind but I was long past them.
It had grown cold up were I was and I thought to turn around, but there is always that tug that I feel that says “not yet” so I carry on. I carry on even when all my limbs are numb with cold and the light is dying all around me. I close my eyes again as I fly and listen, listen, listen to the waves breaking, and the sea talking. A thousand grains of sand shift on the earth with every breath the sea takes and if you listen closely you can hear them all falling, one by one into place.
I opened my eyes again and with some effort turned around, and away from the sea, and the moon was at my back. The little lights below were blinking as people driving home stopped at traffic lights to let pedestrians cross and cyclists zig– zagged past across roads and pavements and homewards. They think they are flying too, but they are still tied to the earth. I watch them skipping through the streets and I wonder what they think about, under their plastic helmets, pink, blue, grey. They always seem to be in such a hurry to get nowhere.
I can see my street approaching and feel a loss. There is a comfort in knowing that one is returning to a place of warmth and comfort from the cold harsh air. But there is a sadness, a grief in relinquishing the power of flight. The power the moon gives, the solace. Once I slip back inside I am tied again to the everyday things, to the worries, and the realities and the binding stress of living.
I’ve often thought about staying up there, about flying and flying until I am numb all over, until my body disappears and it is my thoughts that carry me on. But reality brings me back, humanity is like a chain you can’t break. A man can’t be a bird. And yet…
I close the window and find myself inside again. I sigh and step into the kitchen, filling the kettle up, yawning, reaching for the milk and blinded by the light from the refrigerator door. But still I can feel a tingle down my spine.
The window is behind me.
Somewhere at my back, the moon waits.