"Destinations" Copyright 2011


DESTINATIONS

Prologue

When Susan Jackson was very young, she knew how to fly. Not in the real sense of the word, like getting onto an airplane – that was something anyone could do. But Susan knew what she experienced was different.

It started when she was nine years old, right after her pretty older sister got married and left home. This left the small bedroom that Susan had shared with Peggy all to herself, and she no longer had to pretend to be asleep when Peggy came home late at night, dancing around the room with a picture of her boyfriend and bestowing it with kisses before climbing into her own narrow twin bed.

It felt good to have a room to call her own, a place to escape from her small world where she had no friends, and fellow classmates ignored her at best, and were cruel and spiteful at worst. Inside her room, she could read, or draw pictures, or simply go to sleep, which was the best escape of all. But Susan discovered on some nights she had a certain talent for flying while she lay in her warm bed. She could shut her eyes very tightly, and stay very still. Then the bed would start spinning around, faster and faster… and then she would find herself rising up toward the ceiling. Perhaps flying wasn't quite the right description. Susan found she could look down, and see her bed below. She could reach up and touch the pale, lavender-colored, cool ceiling, and with her fingertips pull herself along the top edge of the room. She would wonder what would happen should she open her window. Would she keep floating, up and up, to finally get lost in the night sky? Or would there be a limit to how far her powers of floating could take her? And what would happen if her mother came into the room? Would she see Susan floating along the ceiling, bouncing lightly, like a balloon filled with helium?

The experience never lasted very long, despite her desire to stay weightless. After a few short minutes, she would find herself back in bed, unable to return to the ceiling. Although Susan successfully willed herself to fly several more times, after a few months she could no longer perform her trick, and her ability to float went away, just as mysteriously as it had come. The young girl never told anyone about what she'd experienced. They would never believe her, or tell her she was simply dreaming, or worse, laugh. So it was best left unspoken, although never, ever forgotten. Susan believed from then on that she was special, even if no one would ever know.