I balance on the tight rope and look down. A canyon gapes menacingly below me.
I snap my head up and squeeze my eyes shut. Every muscle in my body freezes. Somehow, by keeping still, I will survive. I think.
I think wrong.
The tight rope begins to tremble under my feet, and I let out an involuntary groan.
I open my eyes and observe Hope calmly walking the tight rope towards me. She wears that immortal smile and stars dance in her eyes. You would think she were out for a walk with the cat (a habit she has taken up it seems – I tried joining in but the cat made me feel unwelcome).
Hope now stands in front of me, balanced to perfection.
“Hello J “
“Fancy meeting you here!” she laughs.
I am not laughing. I am terrified. A laugh would produce a contraction of the stomach muscles which could well signal my end. I shut my eyes again.
For a moment, the world stands still. But Hope…….Hope happily begins to bounce up and down, gently at first before steadily becoming more forceful, which sends shockwaves right along the line.
My arms shoot out and my hands clench in vain at the air.
“Stop! Please stop!”
“No!” laughs Hope as she continues to bounce, her words perforated by each jump. “Remember….. your….. wings….”
Wings. Wings? My wings?
Oh yeah. Wings. My wings.
Hope stops bouncing, and looks upon me with a look of the most divine love. She flashes me a beautiful grin before gracefully reaching out an arm to push me gently into the empty space beyond.
The air begins to rush, the world spins, and I plummet towards the grumpy, hard earth below.
I give a panicked scream.
“Wha?! Help! Please! PLEASE!”
Hope’s presence is gone. She has finally left me. I am alone. I am terrified. And I am going to die.
As I fall, I reach terminal velocity. The speed at which I can no longer fall any faster. I tumble this way and that, before eventually going into a flat spin. I continue to scream. I fight and struggle and claw uselessly at the air through which I drop.
I am doomed, I realise. I am really doomed. It is useless to fight the inevitable. I may as well let it all go now for what those last few moments of peace will be worth.
And in letting go of the fight I become enveloped in calm. I submit to it. I relax. I accept. And I TRUST. I trust that everything ultimately serves a higher purpose over which I have no control, including this fall to my death. So be it.
The realisation gives birth to destiny as my wings shoot open and catch the air in a moment of singular beauty. Lift chooses to demonstrate its power over gravity. My fall turns into a glide. And the glide turns into a soar.
And so I soar. A single flap which emanates from my subconscious sends me higher. And higher. And higher. I shoot towards the stars glistening above in the clear, cool sky.
I experience peace. A peace I cannot describe.
I spend some time with that peace before eventually folding my wings to commence a dive at the earth; gaining more and more and more speed until I become a streak of pure light. The awaiting earth – which only shortly before looked so grumpy – suddenly acquires a distinctly softened look. It seems to brace itself for a terrible impact that it knows is going to hurt.
I could. But I won’t.
I apply my wings to apply shape to my dive and listen almost absentmindedly to the air as it screams over them. Contrails begin to appear on the wing tips and I draw a lazy shape in the air with them before twisting them to catch the air rather than cut it. My speed bleeds away before I land gently on the ground.
I find Hope waiting patiently before me. We gaze in silence at each other, and it is a minute or so before I eventually choose to speak.
“Thank you Hope.” I whisper. “Thank you. But please – if you love me – please don’t do that again.”
“Don’t worry.” She whispers back smilingly before cocking her head mischievously. “I won’t have to.”