An Inkling of Flight

Elly Murray

Have you ever flown before?

Everyone wants to, but I’m pretty sure no one’s done it yet. I’ve been practicing to be the first.

I practice only in my house on 66 Bernhardt Road. I always thought that was a funny number. Sixty six. It’s so close to one of the bad numbers. My friend Sarah told me about them. It’s a big brown and brick house with green shutters. The shutters don’t open or close; they’re just nailed to the side of the house for ‘decoration.’

But I practice only in my house, so no one can steal my ideas. I only have to worry about my family, but my big brother thinks it’s a dumb idea because he’s not a believer. My mom is too busy to notice, but I’ll show her soon.

Sometimes, I stand at the top of the stairs and picture myself floating softly down them to go get some wrinkly apricots from the kitchen. They always smelled really funny, kinda like peaches. I’m not ready for the stairs just yet, though, so I do most of my practicing in the kitchen.

I tuck myself into the little corner between the cherry colored wall and the fridge, sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the yellow linoleum floor with its strange little squares. There’s that little smear of bloodstain that we never quite got out from when my big brother fell and bashed his head on the counter. He was running from my dad.

I remember my mom crying on this floor when he left, sinking down into it like it was one of those squishy Tempurpedic beds that she would never emerge from. Her eyes are blue, like mine, and that day they were really full of tears. It’s scary when grown-ups cry. If they don’t know what to do anymore, then what happens to you?

I don’t know why she was so sad. I wasn’t sad that he left, but sometimes I worry that maybe he left because of me, because I’m too crazy to handle. But I wasn’t sad; he was always mean to us anyways.

I hear the front door squeal shut; my brother is home from school. I ignore it and begin concentrating, focusing on levitating myself off the strange yellow floor. I do this every day, until my stick-brown hair stands straight up on its end from the static electricity of the fridge door. Sometimes I swear I’ve almost got it. One time, I concentrated so hard that I threw up all over the yellow linoleum. It’s a different color yellow now.

“Sup, dork?” my brother greets as he saunters into the room. He has his blonde hair spiked up with a ton of gel because he thinks it makes him look cool. It looks even dumber than usual.

“Shush!” I command, keeping my eyes closed. “You’re breaking my concentration!”

“God, you are so weird,” he opens the fridge, going straight for the pop in the back that isn’t his, almost crushing me with the door in the process. “You can’t fly, Evie. It’s not gonna work.”

“I can too!” I poked my tongue out at him. “You just watch, loser. I’ll get it one of these times.”

I concentrated extra hard that time, to show him, but he just laughed.

“Having some trouble, Ms. Witch?” he taunted. “Here, maybe you need a ‘magic’ broom!”

He grabbed our neon-red broom and began poking me with the handle.

“Stop it!” I yelled angrily, trying to fend off the broom. “Leave me alone!”

I grabbed one of his books off the stack he had dropped on the floor and chucked it at him, but that stupid boy ducked, and the book collided with the kitchen window, the shattering of glass somehow louder than my father’s angry yells.

There was a moment of stunned silence until he yelled up the stairs, “Mo-om! Evie broke the window!” the exact moment that I hurriedly tried to make him shut up.

I felt a growing sense of dread knotting in my stomach as I heard her shuffle down the stairs. This wasn’t what was supposed to happen. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

“Evie!” My mother’s shocked blue eyes round the corner, taking in the damage I had done. Her dirty-blonde hair was all mussed in the back from laying against a pillow, working on the paperwork that never seemed to end. “What did you do?”

“I didn’t—” I said guiltily, looking down at my feet, “he was teasing me…”

“Evie, we can’t afford to fix this,” my mother said distraughtly, and a still silence fell over the room as we all thought, Not since he left.

I felt a hot well of tears spring to my eyes. But I was going to make it all better! Didn’t she know, I was going to make it all okay? I was going to fly, and if I flew, we wouldn’t need money anymore, or him. We would be happy.

I’d show her. I’d show her I could fly. I almost had it. She wouldn’t have to worry anymore.

I ran out of the room, my socks sliding across the floor of the hallway, up the creaky wooden stairs, two at a time, then three. I reached the top as I heard my mother say worriedly, “Evie?” from the kitchen.

It’ll all be okay, I told myself. Concentrate. I concentrated. I concentrated so hard, I felt my eyeballs beginning to dry out.

I felt a calm come over me, settling into my skin, and I leaned forward as I heard my mother, closer now, just around the corner, “Evie??”

I took a deep, steadying breath, and my feet left the floor.