Flash Fiction: Up, Up, and Away

I am probably going to die. Flying, flying, flying. Death wish. I have a death wish. Do I? Yes. No. I spread my fingers wide and reach for the bar, sliding my fingers around it and holding tight as it rockets me forward. I grip the bar and laugh in relief. I cry, though no one else sees it.

My partner swings toward me, his legs pointed gracefully. I flip away from my bar, wind sighing in my ears, holding me up, threatening to drop me. I reach for his legs and a collective gasp ripples through the arena and for a moment I am shaken by their pure, unadulterated un-concern for me.

I reach my partner and grip his legs just in time, just before I fall, and the audience sighs collectively in un-relief, pure unadulterated un-relief for me. Who will make the evening news now? Who will helps us prove that we are gluttons for misery?

My partner and I continue our routine, the tricks old hat yet somehow still terrifyingly real – the stunt of goading death never seems to lose it’s edge. Most think that it must be exhilarating, to defy gravity the way we appear to do. Once, it was. When Jackson was my partner and I loved the thought of flying.

I must make a decision. My partner is still swinging, flipping in the air, bending his body in ways that seem unreal to the crowd. They ooh and ahh as we cross one another, grab the bars, swing, cross, swing again, and grab onto one another as though we are lovers, fighting to stay warm on a chill winter night.

I do not love my partner. I do not love the circus. It is ’30 in London and I am terrified of more war. I do not have time for games – I do not have time to make little boys laugh at our bravery, little girls cry for our souls. When Jackson was my partner, I did. But Jackson was trampled in the mud in 1925 and I no longer have the time.

Up, up, up, I decide. The only direction I can go now is up. At one point, I close my eyes, reaching, reaching, believing, making myself believe, that I am actually going upward now, higher, higher, I spread my fingers wide, understanding for the first time that I may finally reach heaven.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Flash Fiction: Up, Up, and Away”
  1. Oh, lovely! I didn’t read the tags before the post, so I was mystified at first, and then delighted when I understood you were describing a trapeze act. But … the pain … her decision! Excellent piece.

  2. Thank you! It’s always wonderful to get compliments on your writing : )

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