Learning to Fly

Stories We Tell

A Fictional Series

After my mother passed away, I was totally without family. I never knew my biological father, and my mother had no relatives to speak of. She never talked about her past, so I had no idea if I had any family who were living – or where they might be.

While social services tried to work things out, I was sent to live with the Cross family. I could tell right away that Dizzy and David weren’t used to kids. They were really nice people, but they had a nervous air about them – an uneasiness that a couple might have when they bring home a new baby.

Since I was twelve, their overprotective style and helicopter parenting seemed silly to me. My mother worked non-stop when she was alive, and I had to fend for myself a lot, so I knew how to take care of myself just fine.

Two weeks into my stay, they had already signed me up for karate and rock climbing classes. Karate sounded cool, and I was excited about that, but rock climbing seemed ridiculous.

While I was trying to figure out how to tell them that I didn’t want to climb, they told me that their niece would be there too, and that she was my age. Since I had no friends in the area, I was happy to meet someone who wasn’t an adult, so rock climbing it was.

When I met their niece, Delilah, I thought she was crazy. She talked too much, and she rarely sat still. I wasn’t shy, but I found comfort by retreating into myself. My thoughts kept me grounded, and when Delilah was around I couldn’t even hear myself think.

Delilah was funny though. She was clueless to the fact that she annoyed me, and she would laugh whenever I told her that she was too hyper, or that she needed to stop talking so much.

“You’ll learn to love me,” she would say. “I’m an acquired taste.”

She used to take me down to the lake where she had tied a swing to a tree. We would swing as high as we could, and then we’d jump off into the water. Once, without telling me, Delilah took down the rope and replaced it with this rubber band-like material.

I didn’t notice the change until I was up on the swing. Delilah grabbed hold of the base – where my butt sat – and she pulled me back as far as she could. It took me a minute to realize that it was some kind of homemade catapult – and I started screaming for her to stop. But she didn’t.

When she let go, I went flying, and I landed farther out into the lake than we had ever been. My adrenaline must have kicked in, because I had this feeling that I’d never felt before… and I loved it. I started to howl and laugh, and I swam back as fast as I could so that we could do it again.

We went back there day after day, when we weren’t climbing, and I have to say that I had more fun with Delilah than I’d ever had in my life.

Dizzy and David sat me down one day to let me know that social services had tracked down my father, and that I’d probably be going to live with him. I was excited. I’d never met him, and – after twelve years of life – I’d never known what it felt like to have a father.

We met a few times, with supervision, and then the courts gave him custody and it was time for me to go. Saying goodbye to Dizzy and David was a little sad, but it was nothing compared to saying goodbye to Delilah.

I watched her out the window as the car drove away, until I couldn’t see her anymore, and I suddenly realized that she’d been right all along.

She was an acquired taste, and I had learned to love her.

It’s been many years since that time, but every now and then I’ll drive to that lake and sit under the exact same tree… and I’ll remember how Delilah taught me to fly.

A Note From Me

I made a liar of myself… I had to write another one for the series. Catapult seemed like a good word for childhood memories, and I wanted to hear Ben’s version of the time he met Delilah.

I think it turned out pretty good – I wonder if they will meet again?! Maybe we’ll find out!

Anyway, I am tired and not much else to say. The illustration is a little childlike – but that makes sense for a twelve year old’s story I suppose.

That’s about all for now. Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed!

Word of the Day Challenge: Catapult


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