There's something you're trying to remember
and a lot of things you're trying to forget.
You can hear your mother's sweet voice calling you. She and your sister are asking you to stay with them forever. The best tree swing in the county blows in the breeze
and the old barn beckons right up the street; not an adult in sight to keep you from sneaking right in
and just like always, Dad isn't around. He's never around.
He missed your birthday again. You wonder if he even remembered before Mom told him about it days later.
It would be so easy to stay with Mom and your sister. Even your dog is here.
He's just like you remember him
before he got old.
He's just like you remember him before Mom loaded him into the car the night he just couldn't breathe anymore and didn't make it home.
"Turn it off," says a familiar voice in the distance.
Don't tell me what to do.
Mom promises that if you stay she'll never let anything hurt you again. Not even that Peter Pan movie that made you cry so hard when Tinkerbell died. She came back a few minutes later, but the damage was already done.
It wasn't Tinkerbell you were crying for.
It would be so easy to sit down on the couch with Mom and watch Transformers and walk by the old rusty bike in the river and have a picnic in the backyard and make forts out of chairs and blankets and
That's not the way it is anymore. Maybe it was never like that to begin with. You can't go back
Your insides feel like they did the night Santa stepped into a squad car and your last shred of faith stayed with him. The first crushing lesson you learned is that there's nothing magical about your existence.
The second is that you can hurt others
and others can hurt you.
Your mother waves in the distance as you stride forward. By her grim expression, you know you've upset her by leaving.
For some reason you begin to focus on the one who hurt you most. At least you're used to Dad disappointing you.
How could she do that to you? After so long? After you bought her dinner at that expensive restaurant and wore your new pants? She wouldn't even
she wouldn't even look at you when she said not to come back.
"You really need to turn that off now," says the voice.
Stop telling me what to do! I can make my own decisions!
Thinking about her makes your stomach twist and turn, not because you want her back anymore, but because you wish she would hurt and cry and lose weight from grief.
You've got to press forward. You know you need to keep going where ever it is that you have to go. But the more pain you feel, the harder it is to keep walking.
When you were little, Mom took you to the Easter egg hunt. The Easter Bunny was there; back when you believed in something other than money and the satisfaction of turning off your phone so the outside world couldn't intrude on your few moments of solace.
Mom worked her way to the front of the crowd and
the time they let everyone loose, you were at the front. You got all the best eggs out of all the other kids.
That's what everyone says you need to succeed. That's what the Flying Men say they can give you.
They're tall and proud; they're sort of the opposite of you.
The Flying Men wouldn't let you down.
The Flying Men would never forget
birthday or hurt you like that girl did.
With the help of the Flying Men, you're able to push through the pain and keep going. You can't feel a thing when the creatures hit you, but you notice that the Flying Men are bruised and bleeding. They refuse your aid and push you forward.
"Turn that thing off right now and get to work!" yells the familiar voice.
I'm not listening to you! I can't stop now!
As you trudge though the cold, salty water the only thing on your mind his how you thought you were going to be a construction worker. That's not working out.
You know that it would never have worked out.
is more complicated than a saw and a tree and a lunch packed for you by the woman who should have stopped caring by now.
"Did you ever find your lost trumpet?" asks an old friend you barley recognize. His face is nothing more than two dots and a smile.
He meant the world to you once
now you can't remember his name.
It's too hard to go on. You sit down in the water and let it go over your head. For some reason, the only thing you can think of is how hard you worked on your English in grade school
and failed anyway.
No one even noticed when you stopped trying. You
the work and you hated the teachers for not understanding.
The last Flying Man took a fatal blow from the serpentine sea creature standing between you and what you didn't want you know; what you had to know. For the first time you felt the freezing water in your lungs.
You struggle to the island where you know you need to be. You can hardly see the object staring back at you.
It reminded you of your neighbor's yard
The thing that always worried you
the thing you couldn't fathom
You know you don't need the Flying Men anymore. You just need yourself.
What you're facing is a statue
A reflection of you and your hate and insecurities.
But by facing it, you've already overcome it.
"You need to turn off that old video game and get to work!" exclaims the familiar voice. You finally recognize it. It's your father. And he's right.
It's time to get to work.
Your eyes jet open. You fell asleep playing that game again. The familiar music fills the air as you pull your body up into a sitting position.
You're probably still a little drunk. But that's not important. You grab your baseball bat and stumble into the night.
The rain is thick. The street lights are barley cutting through it. You keep walking to where you know you need to go.
The trees are nothing but silhouettes. From your head into your eyes, the rain drips, but your baseball cap is enough to keep you from going blind.
You pass by your former neighbor's house, now vacant. He was the worst person in your neighborhood. He caused so much pain.
But you know that at one time, he was an okay little kid. You used to watch Thundercats together. He even shared his ice cream with you
Finally, up the hill and past Mr. Agerate's old house, you're where it all began. Fifteen years ago you stood on this very spot and your life changed forever. A decade and a half later and things haven't gone as planned. It should have been easier for you thanks to what you did.
But the world doesn't owe you squat. You know you did the right thing because you had to. You'd do it again in a heartbeat.
A smile crosses your lips.
Somewhere, the Flying Men breathe once more.