As Ella fell, she pictured her mother. She remembered her mother’s calm face as they stood that day in the nest and in the rain, the sounds of the big drops that slapped the leaves, and the rich, deep smell of the wet earth below.
“Falling,” said her mother, “is one of the most important parts of flying.”
What was the most important part?
“The most important part is how we fall,” said her mother. “Do you really want to know how to fly?”
Yes, thought Ella as she fell through the air. I do want to know. Tell me.
“But you already know,” said her mother. “Don’t you remember?”
Ella did not remember.
As Ella fell from the Tower, she did not fall in a way that her mother intended. Her legs and wings fluttered limp in the wind, and her body twisted a little as it met the air.
Maybe this is how the stars feel when they drop from the sky, thought Ella.
Ella wondered if the heavy words and thoughts she had kept bottled up inside her would now spill out through the hole in her chest. She wondered how the ground could rise so quickly to meet her.
What can I do if I no longer want these blue eyes, thought Ella.
“You have to try,” said her mother. “Trying is what we do, and we can never stop.”
She tried to remember that today was a day when everything could happen. She tried to remember she was a Maybe. She tried to remember how to fly.
She tried, and she did not succeed.
“The most important part is how we fall,” said her mother. Her voice came from a distance now. “You must choose the right way.”
I can’t, thought Ella. I don’t know how. Maybe sometimes we don’t get to choose. Maybe sometimes we can only fall.
Ella’s mother did not see her fall. When Ella’s mother fluttered her wings and landed at edge of the Tower, Ella had disappeared and the raven had vanished. The Tower looked quiet and abandoned.
Ella’s mother peered into the darkness, then stepped inside. She had only taken a few steps before she heard a strange, throaty noise that could have been laughter.
“My goodness,” said Wednesday. “Are you back already?”
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© 2018 Colin Lewis · Brought to you by Unlikely Objects