I Can Fly

by Vyomi Malik
(Delhi, India)

Will I ever fly?

Free like a bird in the sky

Nothing to hold me back
Every second a punch will pack

Wind rushing through my hair
In the world, not a care

Hello. I’m Avisa, Mama’s little birdie and Daddy’s sky princess. Can you bend down a little? Yes that’s better. Adults are so tall. Mama says a person’s eyes tell the truth. Your smile does not reach your eyes. Who stole the twinkle from your eyes? Is my pink wheelchair making you sad? Why? Meet super girl’s superwheelz!

Come stand behind me. Can you hold the handle bars please? Now twirl superwheelz in a circle. Round and round. Like a merry-go-round. Here we go. Yes. Amazing! See my dance moves. This is superwheelz dance mode. Now, push hard. No. Not a circle anymore. A straight line please. Yes. Faster, faster, faster! Wheee! Can you run fast down this ramp please? Speedy Avi is coming through. Thank you. That was fun. Yippee! Why are you huffing? Superwheelz running mode is the best.

Daddy’s favorite mode is basketball mode. Our court is at the back. Let’s go there. There you go again. Adults! Towering above my basketball ring! It must be fun to be so tall. Look at the world from above. Do you play basketball? It’s simple. Let me teach you. The ball is there, the brown one with black lines. Bounce it up and down. That’s called dribbling. Now pass it to me. Aaaaannddd dunk. We made a basket! Good you came. Studies are over and my friends are not here today. The awesome foursome! Ankush, Priya, Lalita and Rajiv. They are like me. We call ourselves the Superwheelerz. Ankush and Lalita are chess champs. Priya, Rajiv and me, all of us love scrabble. Do you know who always wins? Yes. Me.

‘God’s special children’ Mama calls us. Mama runs a place called umm… See that big blue board with black letters? Dis-cov-er-abi-li-ty. Grownups call it an NGO. Do you know what that means? Can you hear that? A soft voice, humming ‘We shall overcome’, that’s Mama. She loves to sing. She also writes books for children. Her tales are of adventure, fun and laughter. J. K. Rowling is my favorite author though. Don’t tell Mama that. Promise me or hope to die. It’s our little secret, okay?

Daddy makes planes. Really! Don’t laugh. I’m not joking. He showed me on his computer. He’s an engine…engine..err or something. Wrong again huh? Silly me! Never gets it right. What time is it? That orange ball of fire has not gone into the sea yet. So it’s not yet time for daddy to come home.

Do you want to go to the beach? We can use that little path right there. Mama and daddy both love the sea. We sometimes stay till the blue sky becomes black. Then twinkling sparkles come in the sky with the silver ball. Sometimes full sometimes half. Funny ball! Can’t make up its mind! Likes to change a bit everyday! We come here every day except when it rains. Then we stay inside. So boring! Take me to the water’s edge. Have you taken off your shoes? Good. They will get wet otherwise. Mama does not like wet shoes. She even washes superwheelz before we go back in the house. Help me take off my shoes please. Thank you. Is the water cold? How does it feel on your feet? Dip my legs a bit please. There is no sensation, nothing on mine. A wave! Wow, but nothing on my legs. Can you taste the salt on your lips? Yummy isn’t it? The orange ball has become red and has gone into the sea. It is time to head home now.

Isn’t Stephen Hawking the coolest person on earth? Do you think Avi can be like him someday? Avi, the world famous scientist, sounds so cool right. My dream is to fly. Mama says nothing is impossible. Our mind is our only limitation. There is always a choice. We must believe in our dreams. Mine is about to come true you know. Mama, daddy, doctor uncle and I are off to Spain in two days. Yes Spain! Beaches, sun and sand and flying! It’s the place where Mama met daddy. Both had come to skydive. We are going in a big huge plane. So huge it’s called an air bus! Have you been in one? Why are you checking your phone? Are you bored? Daddy says I ask too many questions. Is it time for you to go? You are very nice. Will you visit me again? Then I’ll tell you my flying story, okay. Come soon.

***

Mama and daddy’s voices are far away. Zoom, wroom, enormous planes, bright shiny lights and so many people running around. We go up a huge ramp that seems to go right into the black sky. It leads into front of the plane. The pretty lady pushing superwheelz gives me a kiss and helps me sit. Daddy packs my wheels someplace above. Mama allows me to see cartoons the whole time. We eat lots of yummy food and sleep at bit in cozy blankets. After a very long time the pilot says “Your destination has arrived”. The pretty lady comes to help me again.

Outside the plane it takes very long to get our stuff and then finally we get into a car. The car is cramped with so many of us. Doctor Uncle tells his funny stories and we laugh all the way. It takes us to our hotel. We are all so tired that once we reach we quickly eat and then sleep. It is my big day tomorrow! My dream is just a day away.

All four of us go by car in the morning to Skydive Spain. Everyone seems to love flying here. So many planes, small ones not like the big ones yesterday. Parachutes of each color, people floating in the air with those parachutes landing on the green grass, wow! A blue sky with white candy floss floating around it, so pretty.

We go to meet Alberto Uncle. He will take me on the jump. He asks me to hold my hands across my chest and scream when we exit the plane. “When I tap you on your shoulder sky princess you can wave your arms like a bird” says Alberto Uncle. He pushes superwheels till the airplane and the straps me up to him. My legs are tied to his, only my arms are free. Now it’s six of us in one small cramped plane. Mama and Daddy look on nervously. Fear is not something I’m feeling. A few butterflies dance in my stomach as the plane rises higher and higher.

Jump Avi, shouts Alberto Uncle and we are falling into the sky. The wind lashes my face, my ears hurt and it is cold. Alberto Uncle taps my shoulder and I wave and sing. “I can fly fly fly! Like a bird in the sky, sky, sky! I am free, free, free! Yipeeee!”

Mama, Daddy that cartoon you showed me of Leeder Uncle was right, “Where there is a wheel, there is a way”! Thank you so much Mama, Daddy, Doctor Uncle, Uncle Alberto and Skydive Spain for making my dream come true. You are the best!

***

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