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I close my eyes, with the wind on my back and for the first time I feel like I’m flying, soaring through the air like the autumn leaves caught by the wind, and the sun smiling down at me. My fingers tingly from the sensation and my heartbeat picking up speed every second I’m in the air. I suddenly stumble and come crashing back down to Earth, hitting the ground with a thud. I open my eyes to everything, the sun still smiling, the undergrowth blanketing the soil like sunscreen on skin and the sky teasing me to come back into its depths. Everyone falls in their life, but usually they can get back up, but I haven’t managed to fly since then. I’ve made a living here on the Earth, but it’s not me. I was born to fly. Every morning I wake up to the birds chirping and flying above me, and one day, I’ll join them again.

When I was young, my mum would hold me up into the sky and with my arms out, I’d fly wherever she took me, like an airplane, piercing the air. Then one day I got too heavy to fly and I fell down. Since then I have only flown in my dreams, soaring across the vastness of the blue sky and through sunrises and sunsets. I’m now fourteen and I still believe that I can fly. I’ve wished for it so much it only has to come true. In Australia, all people care about is each other, no one cares about the sky, whenever there is a sunset, no one looks to admire it, but each night and morning I look for the sun, rising or falling into the sea, outside my window. It’s a beauty that only I see and that’s why one day I’ll be flying again.

‘Tip tap, tip tap’ I awaken to the echo of the leaking ceiling, glancing over at my alarm clock, it tells me it's 4:37. Damn ceiling, for waking me up! For the past few nights I’ve hardly slept. It feels like Mum is with me in my dreams and then when I wake up she’s not and it is so difficult to go to sleep after waking up with her face looking down on me. Tonight is the same. Peeling the covers from my delicate body, I step into my slippers and wander around my room getting ready for the day ahead of me. As a fourteen year old I should be going to school, but living where I live, I’m isolated from the world, farming our food and trading it off for money during the summer harvest. I’m a fourteen year old girl and I’m able to do so much more than those city girls who just shop and think about boys. I can churn butter, know the difference between a sapling and a weed and I can drive the truck around the property. I wonder how many fourteen year olds can do that? Sometimes though it gets really lonely here with just my dad. He’s a good man, but if we lived closer to town, I would have an education and he may find some friends to be with.

On the way to the shed I grab some tools to fix the leak in the roof. I’m all alone, just me, Alex Brown.

‘Oooofffffttt.’ Lifting the sack of grain up, beads of sweat gathering on my brow, I finish my chore. The moon joining the sun in the air, beaming down at my hard work. I’m never alone, with the sun or the moon looking down at me, it fills me with happiness, happiness that only my mum has ever given me. My arms feel like jelly, hopefully my dad can give me a massage tonight next to the heart of the fire. Dad always gives the best massages, pushing his fingers into my limbs, and loosening up the area around it before attacking the massive knots. This time, as he gently works at my shoulders, it’s awkward… ‘Alex?’ Instead of the usual silence dad addresses me, putting his hands into his lap and making me look at him, ‘Have you thought about moving to the city?’

This is unexpected, when has dad ever thought about this?

‘Honestly dad, I have thought about the city, a lot, but I’m happy where we are, it's everything I wish for.’

What else could I say? It's true.

‘Honey, I was thinking that maybe the city would be best for you and I, there you can get an education and we can have a smaller more manageable place, where there isn’t much work to do. A place where we could be happy.’

There's nothing I can do, he knows what he wants, he must’ve been planning this for a while, so I mutter a goodnight and I head to bed.’

I’m like a witch's cauldron, bubbling with nervousness. I’ve been to the city before, but not like this, everything’s been moved out and now it's just dad and I, cruising down the highway heading towards our future how. Once upon a time I’ve pitied city people and now I’m one of them. The buildings are coming into view, imagine touching the stars at night and waking up by the rays of sunshine winking at me when I’m in my bed! One day I will show everyone the beauty in the sky that most people never see.

A shaky breath, one foot after the other, I slide out of the car, my eyes adjusting to the afternoon. I’m home. Well, not home yet. It’s a house with our stuff in it, but when dad and I walk into it, it will be.

School. A place where people call home, a place what people call terror, a place that you make your earliest memories, good and bad. School for me is a place I’ve never gone to, till now. Year 8. I’ve heard year 8 is the worst year of your life, it's true the girls become mean, the guys find more interest in girls and it turns to chaos. Walking through the front gates of Pine Hills High School, I see perfection. No graffiti, or fights just kids playing on the front oval, some sitting in groups laughing and some studying. Head down, I skitter through the maze of students, and head to the door signed, school office. It's a plain office, with formal pieces of artwork that look like little kids scribble, the lady at the front desk has long blonde hair tied in a tight bun, she's smiling one of those forced, awkward smiles. ‘Hello Alex.’

Little do I know my life is about to change. I’ve only believed I would fly in the country and now I’ll fly in the city.

Author Notes: -Work in progress piece

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22 Sep, 2021
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