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People Who Can Fly

It looks ridiculous. Nobody really knows what they’re doing, so they all do these ridiculous little things they think are important. I know one guy who flaps his arms like wings, like an eagle. It’s brilliant. This little guy with arms like saplings, standing high on a hill and swinging them back and forth at the shoulders in these huge, powerful strokes – as if his arms actually caught the air. As if it actually took some effort. Except that’s not really a fair thing to say, because it does take effort. It’s really hard. Not the flapping, that’s easy. But the process of… I don’t know. Getting in the mood. Getting in the right frame of mind to lift yourself off the ground and into the clouds. That’s why this guy flaps like a bird, because it means something to him. It doesn’t do anything to the air or whatever, but it helps him up just the same. Me? I take a run-up. I go about twenty metres back and run, and when I’m nearly there I start jumping really high and bringing my knees up to my chest. It’s fucking stupid. I just jump like that until I don’t touch the ground anymore. It looks so bad. But it helps me, you know? It gets me in the air.

Not that I’m particularly graceful once I’ve taken off. People don’t cut easily through the wind. Too many big, wide surfaces and weird protuberances, so when I’m actually in the air I’m constantly in this awful balancing act. I’m not very good at it. I still tend to flail a lot, and I’ve only just learned not to panic when my balance goes to shit. Because you can’t panic. Once I nearly lost a leg because I panicked. You’d be surprised how easily legs can just snap off, and you don’t even need to fall that far. The doctors thought I was a failed suicide and made me go to a therapist until I was better. He was a nice guy, but he didn’t know what to do with me. He knew I was holding something back. I sure as fuck wasn’t going to tell him what really happened, so eventually he had to let me go. I feel sort of bad about that. I wish we’d stayed in touch. I liked him.

I can’t teach you how to do it. Like I said, everyone has their own way. You’ll want to practice somewhere nobody can see you, because chances are you’ll look just as dumb as me, running and banging my knees into my chest. Maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll just jump into the sky fists-first like a superhero. But I’ve never met a superhero.

Just make sure you practice a lot, where nobody can see you, so that when you do come out and show someone – if you show someone – then at least you’ll look like you know what you’re doing. We’ll still laugh at you. We’ll laugh because you’ll look like a dick, but you’ve got to remember that everyone looks ridiculous, and that’s not what matters. Nobody really laughs at someone who can fly. Not really.