Just before my husband pushed me, he’d whispered in my ear. “A Roman emperor used to throw visitors he didn’t like over the cliffs and into the sea below.”
And then, I felt nothing.
As I fell, the memories flew by, faster and faster until it was all I could do to grasp at them; as if by holding onto them, I could gain purchase on my life again.
“Don’t go,” he’d said to me, the week before I was to leave on a mission trip. “You can help people here—in the United States.”
He took my hand. “The rainforest is full of dangers. You’re terrified of snakes.”
He released my hand. “At least come camping with me before you go.”
Within a year, I’d given birth. I busied myself with bottles and diapers and doctor’s appointments. As I began to navigate the waters of motherhood, my confidence increased. I became aware of my power as a person.
“It’s not your fault, Jules.” But Phillip’s were eyes dark and angry as he turned away and knelt to pray in the hospital chapel.
My confidence did not.
I totaled the car.
My food sickened the guests.
From this height, I could see the way the earth knit itself together. The fields were anchored in place by pristine farmhouses and pretty red barns. The roads crisscrossed here and there; so many places to get to where you are going. So many paths to take. Further off, the interstate cinched itself around the ever-expanding waistline of factories and malls and discount stores.
Phillip had cinched a belt around my confidence.
I wondered how he intended to save me now.
So this was what it was like, I mused, to be weightless. This was what it felt like to be free of worry. This was what it felt like to be full of confidence. This time, Phillip’s plan to rescue me had backfired: When he pushed me from that plane, Phillip had set me free.
Apparently my husband had planned to save me mid-air.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Eric Limer challenged me with “Write something where the viewpoint character is in freefall for the duration of the story’s timeframe. (Your POV can, like, think back on things, but he/she should be in the air at the beginning of the story and in the air at the end.)” and I challenged Chimnese with “You’re given the opportunity to meet your mother or father at a point before your birth. Who would you meet? When? What would you talk about?”