She had wings, but it hurt to use them. Even the movement of the air against her skin was an agony that caused her to remain perched where she was, totally still. She held them as close as she could without touching her body and lifted her face to the moon, letting tears slide from the sides of her eyes and into her hair.
It had taken her a lifetime to reach this place. They called it The Turning Point, almost impossible to get to, jutting fiercely into the heavens as if daring God himself to lean down and look the adventurer in the eye. Her journey had been a hard one; the path excruciating. Traveling the road she’d chosen, she had been mauled by the righteous, judged, mocked and ground into insignificance.
Every challenge she survived had left its mark on her. The battered dreams, the falls from grace, the ridicule and attempts to bind had eventually torn the skin from her body and left every nerve exposed. She learned not to touch, or lean, or draw attention to herself. She clung to the shadows in an effort to remain unharmed, and after a while, the shadows consumed her. She became insubstantial, and worse…
She could not remember what joy felt like.
She had stopped flying long ago when it became too painful, thus her way had become slower and more difficult.She watched as those she passed seemed to lead lives of monotonous activity, all ignoring the bloody stubs where their wings used to be. She knew if she let them take her wings, her skin would grow back and she’d quit hurting. She could be like them, and live like them, and never have to be alone.
They weren’t taking her fucking wings.
So here she was, crouching at the very edge of the precipice, watching the Stubs moving like ants far below in the moonlight. Her desperation was so intense that for a moment she considered just letting herself fall to put an end to the torment of living inside out in a world of numbness. Or she could go back down, give up her wings, and become numb herself. Either would be easier than the feeling of not being at all. Never again being alive enough to feel love or joy.
She stood carefully, legs trembling with fatigue, and stared back down the rocky path. She turned, gingerly keeping her wings from touching her and stared down into the darkness and moving lights below. She waited one heartbeat, then two, and stepped to the very edge. Her head bowed for a moment in acceptance of what had to be, and she flung herself out over the edge.
Her wings glinted silver in the moonlight as she plummeted, the wind screaming against her exposed skin, and as she fell-her heart lit with joy at the freedom of this last flight.
In the blink of an eye, she knew what to do. It was worth every risk to experience it all. She was stronger than her fears, stronger than her pain, and she would no longer be kept down. Her wings snapped open, strong and beautiful as she soared above those staring up at her in awe and wonder.
And the pain of flying was glorious.