Rodney walked without hesitation to the rim of the gorge. Ignoring the symptoms of fear -- the tingling in his fingers and toes, the dizziness -- he looked down, marveling that what looked like a thin, twisting crack at the bottom was, in fact, a sizable river. Below him a red-tailed hawk glided, searching for prey. Rodney inched closer to the rim so that approximately half of his sneakered feet were over the edge. He leaned forward, then lifted his arms. "Go," he whispered.
And he did. The air flowed beneath his arms, under his whole body, lifting him up and up. He was flying just as he'd always known he could. Now he moved his arms in the sweeping motion he'd practiced so often in his dreams. He flipped onto his back, executing a back stroke, and felt the morning sun on his face.The sky, as usual, was a deep electric blue, an enormous living canopy that hummed with power. Flipping over again and facing down, he soared lower and lower until he could examine, at close range, the easy progress of the copper river wending its indolent way to the Gulf.
Rodney's eyes, alert and avian, took in the, darting movements of rock squirrels, the staccato dance of dragonflies, the black and white hairy woodpecker with a red dot on its head drilling into a snag for insects, the red-tailed hawk still on the lookout for prey, and the ubiquitous ravens croaking incantations in the cottonwood trees.
This was the one experience in all the nine years of his life that completely lived up to his expectations. Clumsy on land and even in water, he embraced the challenge of flight like a pro. This, without a doubt, was what he was born for . He was (he had known all along) a creature of the air, his body streamlined, his small bones hollow like a bird's. "Eat my dust, you suckers," he shouted, and, laughing, he aimed himself at the river, head down, arms tight against his body, imitating an osprey and, like the osprey, turning sharply parallel just seconds before he touched the water.
"Wheeee.." he exclaimed now aiming skyward. Despite his exertions, he wasn't the least bit winded the way he always was in PE class when they had to run in circles around the periphery of the gym. He became aware of a small bloating sensation in the lower part of his body. He farted and his body lunged forward making him giggle so hard he began doing involuntary lopsided somersaults right there in the air,
He tried farting again but apparently he was all out of gas.
Then, quite suddenly, the sun was captured by an immense cumulus cloud big as a giant's fist with enormous dark knuckles. An icy gust of wind slammed into Rodney's body knocking him backward onto something solid and hard.
"No offense, Cindy, but that kid of yours belongs in the loony bin," a gruff, masculine voice said.