Flying in a Foreign Country (47)

I dream I leap from a rooftop on a clear day. I fly across the water, dazzling bright. I think it’s a small sea, but I don’t know where. In the dream I think about how the East Bay is close to the water, too. But this is closer, like the lake that comes right to Ajijic, and there is the flavor of another country. Morocco? I fly above a market street that climbs a hill. It is lined with storefronts open to the street, bright fabrics, colorful produce. There are no cars, only lots of very tall people walking up and down the hill, filling the roadway. One young man levitates before me, intercepting my flight path. I feel no sense of alarm. I am surprised but glad. It makes me happy knowing other people can fly here, too.

Long Way Back (14)

The hot air is thick with unfallen rain. My body feels too heavy to fly, so I walk along the creek. I see three white egrets. One is standing on one leg in the shallow water at the creek’s edge. The other two walk together. One keeps looking at the other. It feels like they are deep in conversation I can’t hear. I stop in the middle of the footbridge and face east. I can’t see the egrets now. But I hear a few frogs, just starting up in the early dusk. The crickets are singing, too, and I hear the buzz of cicadas in the cluster of smoke trees on the south side of the bridge. I run both hands along the sides of my face, my forehead, across my shorn hair, pushing back sweat. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and reach for that spot inside my skull. Nothing happens. I am trying too hard. “No, sweetling. Don’t push.” I can hear Kira’s voice as if it were yesterday and not two decades ago. She smiles, shakes her head. “Hold the thought—touch the place, but do not try to force it,” she says. She forms her words with care. English is not her native tongue. “Let it come,” she says. I blow breath through my lips and let them vibrate, make noise. I sound like a horse, I think. And then, horses can’t fly. I reach again, coaxing, gentle. The spot responds, thick and alive in my head. My feet leave the ground. I lift up, then falter and almost touch the bridge again. But I stroke the space inside me, that dense unseen thing, and I steady.

I lift up to the tops of the trees and hover, still hesitant. I have not been able to stay aloft for the past seven days, and I am afraid. “Easy,” Kira’s voice whispers. I remember to breathe, and I let myself drift east above the creek bed. I see the egrets again—they’d been hidden by a small palo verde. They look up but don’t react. The birds here are used to us by now. I turn over and stretch out my arms like a kid floating on her back. I am over the old golf course now, so I adjust my height to clear the tallest of the palm trees. I hear a grackle near where the pond used to be. It makes me happy. I haven’t heard a grackle here in a long time. Maybe we really are turning things around. Maybe it isn’t too late. I hope I’m right. Desirée doesn’t think so. We argued about it again last night. I can still taste the angry words in my mouth, still see her flying away from me as though she couldn’t leave me fast enough, moonlight on her back. Most people believe her. They think it’s too late. We are stupid and wasting our time. I only know a few who think like I do, who believe what we’re doing matters. Lisa. Shawnee. Verdis. But how could we not try? How could we live with ourselves if we didn’t? I begin to sink. My thoughts are making me too heavy. I’ve flown far. It will be a long walk back.