The lady across the street spends six weeks fashioning wings, or so she tells us. Threads of fine gossamer woven with stardust. Her voice is like honey, sweet and pouring slowly from her open mouth. We think she isn’t beautiful, but was once, long ago before she married Captain Blake. We watch her sitting on her crooked front porch, right hand poised, raising and lowering a darning needle in the air, graceful as a ballerina.
Our father calls her Lady Blake, and we understand this is a mean joke, because although she is elegant she is very poor, like everyone else in our neighborhood. Our father tells us to stay away from her, but once he’s had his third cup of whiskey and his eyelids start to droop we slip carefully out the front door and dart over the fissured road to stand on her front lawn.
We’ve heard that Lady Blake’s son jumped out a window, but it was only the second story, so instead of dying he ended up with two broken legs. When his bones healed, he disappeared to the other side of the world and was never seen again. Captain Blake died at sea like a hero in a novel, and we imagine that when the giant octopus that ate him wrapped its slimy, tentacled arms around his ship, he laughed and dared it to come closer.
Lady Blake tells us she is sewing wings specially made just for us, and we count the days until they are finished. When they’re ready, she holds them up in the sunlight for us to inspect, but we can’t see a thing. She tells us solemnly to turn around, and gently places them upon our tiny shoulder blades. We glance at each other but keep our lips sealed because we love Lady Blake. She whispers in our ears that we can do anything now, go anywhere, that nothing is impossible. We dance across the patches of dry grass sprouting from cracked earth, barefooted. We feel like if the wind changes it will carry us up into the atmosphere and we will float away, and we don’t care at all because somehow, we are sure we can fly.
Sara Dobbie is a Canadian writer from Southern Ontario. Her stories have appeared in Fictive Dream, JMWW, Sage Cigarettes, New World Writing, Bending Genres, Ghost Parachute, Ruminate Online, Trampset, Ellipsis Zine, and elsewhere. Her chapbook “Static Disruption” is available from Alien Buddha Press. Her collection “Flight Instinct” is available from ELJ Editions. Follow her on Twitter @sbdobbie, and on Instagram at @sbdobwrites.