Soaring With Angels

By: Wome

"Take my hand,

Come with me, fly with me,

Be one with me..."


I awoke to the luxurious, natural aroma of spring. It wafted into my perception like a raging river of vivid colours, dancing in my head. Indeed, this was a fitting day on which to be reborn. A shaft of light from the single window on the cracked, unpainted wall illuminated a rectangular patch on my bedroom's stained floor. My bedroom was a small, bare room, containing nothing other than a small pine cupboard, a bookshelf filled with various books about flight that I had received from my grandfather, and my bed. My grandfather had been, according to the almost entirely unreliable source of my parents, a highly decorated pilot in the Second World War, and after that, an eccentric aircraft enthusiast. Thus, he had collected a large number of books on the subject, which, after his death had been passed on to me - the only person in the family who had shown even a casual interest in the art of flight. My parents had never told me how he died; perhaps they wanted to encourage my only interest to grow.


While other children of my age had spent their weekends outside, laughing joyfully and playing, what seemed to me to be pointless games, I sat on my bed, reading my grandfather's flight manuals, learning the basic principals of aerodynamics. Alone. I couldn't afford to spend my valuable time playing pointless games. As such, I had no friends: I knew my ambition, and that was enough for me - there was no space in my life for social activity. By the ethereal light of the moon and the radiant luminosity of the sun, I would study flight.


Ever since I could remember I had dreamt of flying. Every night I would soar above the soft, white, clouds - flying towards the brilliant radiance of the sun. I would revel in the lurid sunlight, performing a mid-air choreography under the sunbeams in these vivid dreams. It seemed almost as if I was soaring with angels. To dance in the sky with those angels of light was my only purpose in life. Their divine magnificence drove me onward, and indeed, upward, towards the ocean of blue above.


Every week was like walking through a marsh, trudging through the filthy mud of school and homework. Simply putting one foot in front of the other - unconsciously walking through the same monotonous tracks each day. The weekend was my only refuge at the end of this extricating trek - this was when I had my glider lessons. The one time that I had felt truly alive, truly conscious was when I was in a glider. Indeed, the glider lessons were the main reason why I owned so little, for nearly all the money my parents spent on me was used for these glider lessons. They were the only thing I had ever wanted, which, was confusing for my parents, who, I now know, only wanted a "normal" child. Of course, there is really no such thing as a normal child: every child has his own individual quirkiness, however small. It was just that the quirkiness I had was immense in comparison to that of other children. I had apparently inherited the love for flying from my grandfather, not only in his books - it was in the blood that coursed through my veins, this will to reach up and touch the sky. It seems, however, that this characteristic skips a generation, for my father had never expressed any interest in flying, yet, perhaps, this was something to do with the death of his very own father.


I had, never, until this day, been allowed to fly alone, even though I was the junior pilot with the most flying hours in the local glider club. I had always been with an instructor. An instructor who would restrict my movements, preventing me from dancing with those angels in my dreams, preventing me from performing that intricate choreography.


Today would be the day. The day I would finally be able to fly a glider with no supervision. I remember walking down the sun-baked road with the same grin I wore every Saturday while on my way to the glider club. I walked proudly, with the stature of a King; the sun beaming its luxuriant rays onto my face as I did so. It seemed as if all the other children in the street had stopped and turned their heads, just to watch my pride-filled walk. This, I thought, was my walk towards destiny.


When I arrived at the glider club, I was greeted by the welcoming face of my usual instructor, I sat restlessly through the briefing, dropping the pen I was fiddling with several times. When we emerged from the small hut after my briefing, however, the sky had become grey, and the wind strong. It seemed as if God was mocking me from his cloud, laughing at the bemused expression I wore. The wind blew across my face, feeling like a thousand needles scraping across my skin. Leaves from the nearby trees blew across the field, tumbling uncontrollably through the moist air, as I knew a glider would in such conditions. I remember that the air had its own particular taste upon inhalation - It was moist and sour; it's rancid odour bore no resemblance to the sweet aroma I had detected only that morning. I could not fly in these conditions. It felt like someone was squeezing my heart of its blood; I had been betrayed by the very air currents that I had hoped would carry me to the edge of the sky.


My instructor told me that I should go home and try again next week. I refused. This was the day I was going to fly with the angels, no matter how long I would have to wait. I sat huddled in the midst of the long grass of the field and I remember running its slender form through my hand while I was waiting. I sat for hours, simply listening to the wind, the wind which seemed to shriek with the lachrymose cries of a banshee. My instructor, I knew, watched me through the window of the hut, but I never turned my head - I simply continued staring at the horizon. After a while, my consciousness seemed to drift away from me, the scene becoming gradually less perceptible...


I awoke, once again, to the sweet aroma of spring, this time accompanied by the luxuriant smell of grass. I still have no idea how I was able to fall asleep, but somehow, in that terrible weather, I managed to drift off. The sky had cleared, the wind had stopped and the sun was gleaming like a newly polished golden plate. Something, or someone had been merciful towards me. My soul was lifted, for now, I would be able to take to the skies.


I clambered into the cockpit of the glider, and made a hand gesture that signalled to my instructor that I was ready for launch. The glider shuddered as it moved along in the bouncy grass, gathering speed for its take off. Naturally, it was being towed by a jeep, driven by my instructor (the only other person at the club on this day), for gliders cannot take off on their own. It began to lift off of the ground and the shuddering ceased. Now, I was truly flying. I remember pulling the lever to release the tow cable and then feeling a sense of immense freedom.


The sun radiated its beams onto a landscape of pure white clouds, floating islands in this ocean of blue. I flew upwards, above the clouds and I could see the intricate relief of these opaque white islands. I soared elegantly like an albatross, banking left, then circling on an area of hot air, to rise even higher, perhaps to the edge of the sky. The plane was no longer separate from me, I could feel the wings slicing through the thin air - it was an extension of my own body. I swooped freely, gleefully, revelling in the simple freedom of this relative weightlessness offered. The only way I can describe this experience is as a ‘rebirth' - I was born from the womb of the Earth into the beautiful world of the sky. Indeed, things were never the same after this flight. I was soaring with the angels that I had envisioned in my dreams, those invisible, yet always present angels of light which seemed to whisper into my consciousness: "Take my hand, come with me, fly with me - be one with me...". And those carefully choreographed dream maneuvers were becoming reality. I was able fly alone, soar without supervision. Flying in that realm of dreams - the sky.


SOARINGW
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