Then he hit the ground

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A lonely, successful business man gets carried away with his escapist reading addiction...

Submitted: April 08, 2011

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Submitted: April 08, 2011

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Then he hit the ground...

by Mark Melchiorre

He woke up sweating again. It's not as if he can remember the dream really, its more that he knows how he feels when he wakes up from it. He puts his glasses on to check the time. He remembers when he didn't have to do that. He gets up and looks in the mirror and tries to comb a little more hair over the spot he's losing on the back of his head. There's more gray in it today, he notices. He sighs and wishes for the days when he was a big man on campus backat college. He sighs and remembers falling in love with Rose. He sighs when he remembers that he fucked Johnson's secretary at the company picnic two years ago. He sighs when he looks around his beautiful, professionally decorated apartment that he now lives in as a result.

Work is good though.

He started reading silly fantasy novels to pass the time. Theres so much more time now that Rose has the kids. They're a little old to hang out with their dad anyway, let Rose deal with buying the girls new bras and worrying about Vince's football practices. So he reads the fantasy novels. His favorites always involve people who can fly. God, if only he could fly away, just leave all this bullshit and feel the breeze on his face. It'd help the commute anyway.

Work some more. Sign a few proposals that he didn't write but dammit, he earned the right to give approval on all the work his lessers do for him. It feels good to lord over young people. He feels sad that in a few short years Vince will be in this world. He'll get shat on for years. The world isn't what it was. He looks out the window and sees gray.

The apartment is so much closer to work than the old house. It still takes fucking forever. City traffic, city lights, god damn pedestrians. The world is pedestrian.

He reads a novel that night about the world of old. There were dragons, there were wizards, there were kings and queens and a man could take what he wanted as long as he was strong and had a good sword. A boy became a man in a matter of years. People didn't live quite so long back then. Marriage is a lot easier, he thinks, if people only live til forty five. Shit, he thinks, there wasn't even another woman in his mind until twenty years of marriage. Rose was older. She was his wife, and she was his best friend, but he lost interest in her body. She was probably more mad about the lying than the actual act. She hadn't taken interest in his body in years.

Thats not why he's reading this book. He focuses back on it, leaving his real world behind and reading as a valiant knight took a wizards potion to kill dragons. He misses his kids.

He wakes up sweating again. He looks at the ground to keep his bearing so he doesn't vomit all over his four thousand dollar Ralph Lauren custom bedspread. Rose would've hated that bedding. It had such a nautical look. Like a sea captain, but instead of chasing white whales he chases twentysomethings that are impressed with money and comfort. He had little else to offer them. He still loved Rose.

Work is strange. There is an air about the few people that work beside him. Johnson asks him if he's seen the exchange reports for the morning. He hadn't as a result of his sweating, almost-vomit experience of the morning. In the middle of the night in America, China had issued a statement that if the States wouldn't start diminishing their debt to them, then severe actions would take place. The market plummeted overnight. The firm was in jeopardy. The investors were pulling out left and right.

Work was no longer good.

Its Vince's birthday. Rose invites him to the house, but doesn't tell him that she will be inviting her new boyfriend. He walks in to find a large, handsome black guy sitting on the couch he and his ex wife had picked out together, during happier times. Wonder why she'd flaunt some large chested, probably large crotched guy. The black guy claims to be a personal trainer, fifteen years younger than Rose and only ten older than Vince. He and Vince even played some Xstation game together, whatever the fuck it was. He gave the guy a hard look. It shouldn't have bothered him that the guy was black, but honestly, to himself and no one else, it did a little. The age, the race, the size, hell, the guy was even funny. Nothing like him. She goes out to find the exact, god damned opposite of her ex husband.

The firm was closing. There were only a few weeks left before China told America what the repercussions would be. The firm had a few weeks to get our accounts closed out. He read in his office. He never read in his office, nothing escapist at least. This story was about a man who could make his wishes come true. It alarmed the wishing man at first, but soon his wishes got more involved and more specific, and he transformed the world around him.

He put the book down and looked out the window. He still had a balcony, for a little while longer anyway. China would take that from him soon enough. He walked out onto the balcony and put his feet firm to the edge where the railing kept suicides from happening. He thought about the wishing man. He looked at the ground, the ground that wasn't his much longer. He looked at the sky, and cursed it for letting him set his standards so high. He looked back at the ground and he wished as hard as he could to fly. He wished that the spinning world would just ignore him. He wished gravity would accept everyone else and just let him go.

After five minutes of wishing, his feet left the ground. He was hovering. Gravity had let him go just a little bit. His inertia kept him spinning with the world, luckily. But he was flying. He started to float a bit higher, and he got nervous. What if Father Gravity took him back right now? He was hundreds of feet it the air. He started to feel sick, but only a bit. He was still close to the building, but he could spin himself freely, like in the astronaut videos. It was nauseating. He spun so his feet were on the building, and pushed as hard as he could. And suddenly, he was flying. He knew it was just inertia keeping him moving forward, but he stopped caring about that. The wind rushed through his thinning hair. He suddenly stopped caring his hair was thinning. The buildings, fortunately, breezed past him, and he was higher in the sky. He was over fields that he could see for an eternity. He suddenly stopped caring that his vision was getting worse. The crowds of the city and the bustle of the people are gone and it is only the peace and tranquility of his single, unique human experience. He suddenly wishes Rose were here with him.

The world seemed to be getting further away. He must have pushed in the opposite direction of Earth's orbit, because he was still moving quickly from that one small push. Or maybe the Earth was moving faster and Mother Inertia let him go, too. He wasn't sure. All he knew was he was going too far, too fast.

Thething they don't tell people in the books about gravity ignoring someone is that theres nothing to grab on to in the sky. Nothing at all. He realizes he's getting too high up. He realizes that the world, traveling this fast, is going to leave him behind. He doesn't want to suffocate in the cold of space. He starts to regret his wishing.

The air starts to get thin. He can see a mountain range. He already saw an ocean pass. The thing they don't tell people in the books aboutflight is that it's very easy to get lost. All these birds that have a good sense of direction and the ability to change course. He thinks he must be screwed. He thinks he has no idea where he is or how to get back. He looks down at the Earth, looking more like a globe in a classroom with each passing second. He thinks he's over China. He spits.

He begs the Earth to spin with him. He begs gravity to take him back. He doesn't want to see the heavens, he wants to fall. He wishes and he pleads and he sees a low orbit satellite and he starts to cry. He misses his kids. He misses Rose. He misses his office that he worked so hard for and he misses Johnson, but he avoids thinking about his secretary and her tramp stamp tattoo that they didn't have when he was big man on campus back in his day but he found just delightful. No, he misses Rose so much more. He asks the Earth one last time, knowing that any further and he'll suffocate. He asks the Earth:

“Please take me back, dear God please, hold me one more time”

He started to fall then. He started to realize that he won't survive this. He started to realize that his family might never find him. He started to realize that he was moving awfully fast. He started to realize that maybe all these fantasies he'd been having weren't what mattered, but what he had and what he loved was what mattered. He started to realize he'd rather fall to the world that his kids lived on than to fly away from it. He realized the world that let him go had taught him his last lesson.

Then?

Then he hit the ground.


© Copyright 2020 Mark Melchiorre. All rights reserved.

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