Chapter 13 1997 - I Believe I Can Fly

“It’s been six months,” Angela chided, “and you’ve yet to sit down and finish that so-called super-hero novel of yours.”

“Super-hero novel?” I raised his eyebrow quizzically. “I never tried to write a super-hero novel.”

“And just what do you call the novel with ‘Clark’, a phone booth, and the ability to fly?”

“Fly? There was nothing about flying in my novel. Where do you get a silly idea like that?” I seemed a bit confused about Angela’s line of questioning.

“Oh, come on. Are you totally dense, or something? You don’t remember writing about Superman?”

“I never wrote anything about Superman, that’s for sure. I had a character named Clark, that’s for certain, but there the similarity ends. You seem to think I have him saying something like ‘I believe I can fly’ and then just take off? That’s just ridiculous. It’s not believable. I’ve never bought into Superman as a figure to be celebrated or emulated. An alien from outer space, comes to Earth, and saves the human race. Totally ridiculous.”

“Still, Clark. Phone booth. Hat. Glasses. That screams Superman,” Angela insisted.

“It really never crossed my mind. ‘Clark’ is Clark Wilson, and he suffers from chronic back pain. When a sudden pang comes upon him, he does everything he can to find the nearest chiropractor to relive the pain.”

“And you find that compelling literature? Sounds pretty pedestrian and drab to me,” Angela complained. “And how long was this novel to be?”

“I was planning on about 300 pages for the first volume. The sequel would probably be about the same, maybe 350.”

“A sequel? On what material? Visits to the dentist?”

“As a matter of fact, yes. I was inspired to write the sequel based on my experiences with the broken tooth. There’s a great story there!”

“Oh I’m sure there is,” Angela replied with sarcasm. “A real page turner.”

“Yes, I really think so. I’m glad we’re on the same page.” I was oblivious.

“So, when is it coming out?” Angela decided to play along.

“I’ve set it aside for now. I’ll probably work on it again in the Fall.”

“As I suspected. You never finish anything,” Angela accused.

I became defensive. “I finish everything… in my own time. It takes a while, but I have all the time in the world!”

“All the time in the world? You could be hit by a bus tomorrow! What good will time do for you then?”

“There’s no bus, no accident, no illness that will strike me down. I’ve seen it!”

“Seen what?”

“I have seen my future. And it is bright!”

“Your future? And just how is that?”

“A dream. I dreamed of me at an old age, and you were there beside me. Celebrating.”

“And you believe in this dream.”

“I do. I think it runs in the family. My mother had dreams, and they came true as well.”

“So what was your dream?”

“We were together, celebrating my birthday. The 113th! Yes, I was a teenager once again!”

“113? And how well do you think you’ll be at 113, should you even make it to that?”

“Fit as a fiddle, I’m sure. You and I were dancing and everything. And I know the future will be bright, because of the special sign.”

“Special sign?”

“My cake had 113 candles. That lit the place up!”

“So tell me more about this dream. I suppose your parents were there?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, they’d be over 130 years old. No one lives to be that age!”

“I dare say that no one lives to be 113 either. At least, very, very few. Why would you be among them?”

“I saw it in the dream!”

“All right. Go ahead and believe it. You may as well believe you can fly, as well.”

“Once again. It’s you being ridiculous. You don’t have faith in my predictive dreams? What if I told you I dreamed we won a million dollars in the lottery?”

“You dreamed that?”

“Well, no. And since we haven’t, the fact that I didn’t dream it proves my point!”

“I really don’t think it works that way.”

“Don’t get a scientific on me. You just wait and see. If I don’t reach 113, it’ll be over my dead body!”

“Now that’s a statement I can believe in.”

Discourse like the one earlier in the week troubled Angela. She was sure that I was losing it. That all of his mental faculties weren’t present. That he wasn’t firing on all cylinders, to use a common expression. She confided her concerns to Emily. “I is not all there sometimes. I would blame it on all those drugs in the sixties and seventies, but I was there. He did not partake. There’s no other excuse but a descent into mental illness.”

Emily disagreed, ”Mental illness? I really don’t think so. I is exuberant and childlike, sometimes, but that’s just the way he is. You’ve known him for more than thirty years. You should have recognized that by now.”

“That’s true, I suppose,” Angela admitted. “But sometimes he is just so over the top, I can’t figure him out.”

“Maybe he’s just trying to engage your own imagination. Maybe you should stop being so serious and concern, when there’s clearly nothing wrong, and seek out your inner child as well. What do you do for fun?”

“I like to sit and watch the TV, read my books, spend time in the garden. I find it relaxing.”

“I find it boring, if you ask me. You need to get out, find adventure. Do something together. I is probably feeling tied down to a homebody existence and wants to go out and experience life, and I think you would benefit from it as well.”

“We went on that Mediterranean cruise.” Angela offered.

“And that was what, ten years ago? You’ve barely stepped foot out of the house, much less taken any major trips.”

“We go out. To the mall, out to eat.”

“Slow my heart, girl. Let me off this crazy ride!” Emily patted her forehead as if wiping away sweat.

“So what’s your idea of a good time?”

“Why not go out and have an outdoor adventure. Hiking, horseback riding, surfing. You’re kids are getting old enough to enjoy some of those activities, and if they’re too much for them, you can always leave them with us and go off an do some things, just the two of you. Be a kid again!”

“A kid again. I never did those things when I was a kid in the first place. I’m not sure if I even remember how to ride a bike, much less if I can ride on a horse. It sounds too dangerous.”

“Danger is only in your mind. Oh, sure, there are activities that are truly dangerous. Jumping from a plane without a parachute hoping to land in a pile of hay comes to mind. Juggling a dozen knives set on fire. That I would not recommend. But you want to know what the real danger is? Not living life to the fullest! You’re in danger of wasting away, never having accomplished anything. Tell me, when you look back at 70, 80, 90, what will you have to look back on?”

“I claims that I’ll be there at 110. In a dream”

“So then, what will you look back on at 110? A life filled with TV shows, books and the garden? You’ve got to live a little. No, I take that back. You’ve got to live a lot!”

“So,what, you think I need to take a class?”

“A class isn’t go to do it for you. You need to grab life by the tail, and hold on!”

“You seem to have everything planned out for me, don’t you. I don’t get a say in this?”

“With your track record, I should think not.”

“OK, show me something. What should I do to add excitement to my life?”

“Give me a day or two, and I’ll come up with something.”

Emily was true to her word, and visited Angela once again a couple of days later. “I’ve got the perfect thing. It’s exciting, a little bit dangerous, and it will get the adrenaline rushing through you.You won’t be the same afterwards!” She was clearly excited about the idea. “You won’t be satisfied to just sit around and read anymore!”

Angela was intrigued, if not a bit wary. “What is it? What have you got cooked up?”

“I’m not telling. You’re just going to have to trust me on this. Get into some comfortable clothes, and we’ll be on our way.”

Angela decided to take the bait. “After all,” she thought, “What if I’s right, and I’m healthy enough to see 100 and beyond. Might as well live life the the fullest.”

She changed her clothes, and together Angela and Emily went out to the car. “Where are we going?” Angela asked again.

“You’ll see,” Emily winked conspiratorially.

They drove about an hour before turning into a private airfield. “We’re taking a flight? To where?”

“You’ll see,” was all the response she could get. “Trust me.”

“The two of them entered the small plane, and the pilot greeted them. “Welcome aboard, ladies. We’ll be off the ground in no time, but first, let’s get your ‘chutes on. Don’t want to jump out without them,” he chuckled.

“‘Chutes as in parachutes?” Angela’s eyes grew wide. “You’re going to try to get me to jump out of a plane? I think not!”

“It’s fine, I’ve done it seven times now. Spike and I have made it a hobby, and we love it. You will too.”

“Spike has never told me he jumps out of planes. I’m his sister, don’t you think I should know something about that?”

“He didn’t want you to worry. You know how you get sometimes. Now get the parachute one, and let’s take off!”

The pilot/instructor showed Angela how to put on the parachute, and also explained how she would not be going down alone. They would be going on a tandem jump. A professional will accompany her at all times.

Wary as always, Angela reluctantly agreed to the experience. Boarded, the plane took off and settled into a 10,000 foot altitude. Angela was secured to the professional, and after a quick count of three, was airborne. The exhilaration set in immediately.

“I believe I can fly!” she screamed with delight as every part of her body tingled with the excitement of this new adventure.