If I could fly,
I would.
I suppose.
I would get lost among the clouds and mountains, hiding in pearlescent fog from the world below. I would sing loud and off key, in harmony with my ever shifting echoes.
I would dance naked in the light of dawn, with nobody to see me, stretched out and basking in errant sunbeams, spinning and rolling and diving, flexing my arms as wide as they would go.
I would pass over the hills and valleys and watch as the colors changed, seeing where the wind blew the geranium seeds last season and where the butterfly weeds grew rampant in the sandy soil.
Flying low to the ground, I would let my nose be tickled by the wildflowers, dragging their pollen to distant places with the tips of my toes.
I would fly west and north and south and east. I would go everywhere that I could think of.
I would fly east and south and north and west. Then, I would fly up above all obstacles, closing my eyes for hours at a time and arriving at places I never could have imagined.
High in the atmosphere, getting stoned by the lack of oxygen, I would stare at the Aurora Borealis and the long-ago explosions of stars until I passed out, dropping like a wicked angel down to Earth.
It would be like if you fell asleep on a museum bench; you'd wake up and see the art in front of you through the prism of a dream it inspired. I would wake up while falling and, before I could remember my name, I'd see the world for the first time, again.
Birds and planes would become my pals.
The birds know where to find the freshest fruit and I'd follow them in their quest for the fairest weather. In turn, they would huddle around me in the trees while I opened their nuts with stones and levers.
Planes would pass by too quickly to know, but the passengers inside would know me, at once, and call me by the names of a hundred different long-forgotten gods.
I would be alone though, really. Because the birds are idiots. My migrations would always be to the cities, where the people were, and I would find ways to deal with the cold.
As I got closer to cities I would smell the exhaust and fumes of the ten thousand cars.
Nature's elegance would give way to the straight lines of crop fields and fences, broken only by highways winding like rivers off into the distance.
At night the red lights would always run downstream.
The skies would become entangled with danger and I would need to watch out for powerlines and pigeons.
All of the people would seem small and frail as I approached, their homes and offices would look like delicate sculptures dispersed among the clumps of trees.
Edifices would appear like structures of piled up dust, built in imitation of mountains.
The infrasturcture would appear as cobwebs waiting to be wiped away.
Looking down on it all I would doubtless feel superior, and in my superiority I would doubtless feel alone.
Coming closer, nearing the buildings, their true scale would show. I would resent them and fear them because every room with a ceiling would be an oubliette.
The skies would be wide and bright, but empty. I wouldn't want to eat animals raw in the dirt. There would be no cook fires in the sky and wild fruit is bitter and filled with worms.
Perhaps I could avoid the cities, but I would never escape the towns. God only knows where I would keep my wallet, but I would need one.
Even from above I would not be able to escape the grid of civilization, the expectations of participation and the regulations of conduct.
I could pick up women easier than if I owned a Lamborghini, but where would I take them? We would make love in the sky until they grew bored and would want to go see a movie or something, especially if it got chilly.
Own a home? Pay taxes? Register to vote? Join a health club? Respond to emails? Get my back waxed? Wash clothes? Acquire debt? Piss only into porcelain bowls?

I would live free.
But at night I would have to curl up in the crook of some tree and tether myself to branches, afraid of drifting away in my sleep. I would wake from nightmares with numb limbs and pale fingers, stinging from the return of blood, with deep dark creases on my skin where I struggled against my self-imposed bonds.
I bet I could outpace the seasons.
But what of storms? I would find myself wet and whipped by strong winds, bashed against the sides of clouds and flying ever upwards, upwards, upwards, away from the trees at all costs.
Struggling to see and breathe and move.
Afraid to die.
And what of night? Would I really fly at night, among the clouds, when it was cold and dark and I was blind?
Would I hold my hands before me as I flew, or perhaps fly feet first, looking like the cartoon of a scared cat, always anxious of stray branches striking my crotch or face? I could buy a flashlight, but what would I do when the batteries died? Where would I keep it?
Nighttime would be bleak and lonely, and I would hover at the edges of civilization, drawn to the electric lights just like a moth. I would stand outside of windows and look in longingly at families and furniture alike. People would see me hovering there and call the police. They would treat me like a nuisance, stringing randomly arranged black wires across their yards in the hopes I would die.
I would worship the moon, with more devotion given to any god. I would play as though I was a wolf, like a child, and howl at its fullness.
And I would dread its absence. I would tattoo a calendar upside down onto my belly and acquire a phobia of time.
Nothing in the whole of the earth would look as glorious to me as the dawn. I would watch every sunrise with tears in my eyes.
But dawn passes swiftly and is really only the space between day and night, nothing in itself. It would flare like a firework in the sky and pass into memory even as I watched. Sometimes I would chase it through the sky until fatigue overcame me and I was forced to begin my day.
I would know why the birds sang at daybreak and likely join them. My voice would be rough and little used, sounding harsh next to theirs. It would turn their chorus into a cacophony, but they wouldn't complain, I could sing as loud as I wanted. I am not sure if the joy in singing comes from making the song or from having it heard, but if I could fly that is the kind of thing I would know.
It isn't that it wouldn't be nice to fly, but when the novelty was over I would be left unable to keep my feet on the ground, adrift in a world not made for people like me.
I would be exotic, and nobody considered exotic has ever been better for it.
I think that if I could fly I might choose not to.
If I could fly I might keep it a secret, or maybe just use it to amuse my friends at dinner parties or to win bets. I would still wear well-soled shoes.
In the end, I would see the world through windows and let it stay there.
Laser beams, though...
If I could shoot lasers from my eyes, I would, I suppose.
Aside from the cities there would be only the stars. They would be the only things I could see at night and I would stare at them for hours and for weeks and months and years, learning every single one of them by heart, until the sky swam with constellations that I had given names.
But they would never change and never move and never grow. Not like the city, where the lights always shine in new configurations, where the stories are not told, but lived, and every light is a life and every twinkle a choice.
I would think about those people flying by in airplanes.
Looking down on the clouds and seeing the same views as me.
Then they would turn on their laptops and play solitare rather than stare out the window.
And even if I had a laptop I wouldn't have a place to plug it in.

Justin Berry - 2014

Thanks to:
w3schools.com / Wikimedia Commons / publicdomainpictures.net / Bomb Magazine / Kevin MacLeod and FreePD.com for the song 'Spacial Winds'