Seemingly out of the blue I grew wings. One minute they were not there, as I walked down the wide street after leaving my solicitor’s small office, making my way back to my own even smaller office, the next I felt a heavy weight drag my shoulders down. Turning my head, I could see a wide curve of white just over my shoulder, and reaching around with an inquiring hand I felt what were clearly feathers, their bristling softness tickling the tips of my fingers. Turning to the window of the shop to my left – a charity store with its display of clothes and ornaments looking forlorn and yet also hopeful – I saw in its reflection two large wings rising behind and above me.
All I could do was stare, open mouthed, at this glass-shadowed sight of myself standing there, with two vast wings rising from my back. I was unable to decide if I should try to fly, spread those wings wide – how wide might they be? – and taste the high air, lose myself in all that cast sky, or admit the possibility I had finally lost the last shred of my mind, for I had been under a great deal of stress of late with my marriage disintegrating after my wife told me she did not love me anymore, I am not entirely certain she ever had, and the possibility that the business I worked for might let go off half of its. Also, I was beginning to suspect that I was being stared at, but I could not take my eyes from my reflection, though if I were being stared at it probably meant that the wings I was seeing, and the weight of them that I was feeling, like someone was sitting on my shoulders, were real and not some creation of my harried mind.
My delaying debate betrayed me – indecision, one of the many faults my wife accused me of in a long speech that she had clearly rehearsed, her eyes looking everyone but at my face – and as fast as they came my wings were gone, the weight on my shoulders no more. I saw them go, in the reflection, the air seeming to shimmer – or the window rippling – as they disappeared. I even felt my body jump slightly as the weight passed.
I sighed and shook my head, my chance to soar gone. I turned from my reflection and the clothes and ornaments which looked more forlorn and less hopeful now, and made my way back to my office, while it was still my office, all too aware that such chances to soar rarely come round again.
Edward Lee‘s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, The Blue Nib and Poetry Wales. He is currently working on a novel.
He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Orson Carroll, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.
His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com