One Tiny Leaf

Short stories and poems

**This was an exercise for one of my writing classes. The assignment was to write a very brief story (or part of a story) from a second person point of view. The exercise was supposed to follow a how-to format using a Wiki instructional article, but it was also supposed to tell a story about something other than the how-to. My randomly assigned how-to was skydiving.

Close your eyes and try to inhale as your face breaks the air at 120 miles per hour. As you fall, forget about everything that came before this moment, and linger in the blasting euphoria of floating over everything. The months of searching for just the right place with the right instructors and the right weather are behind you. Perhaps you were a bit too zealous in your research, or perhaps you were scared. Either way, right now you are joined at the hip with a stranger who’s screaming “isn’t this great?” But you can barely hear him because of the rush of the sky parting for your passage.
Why haven’t you done this sooner, you wonder. What stopped you all those years? You glance over at your son, Jake, his tanned, skinny arms clutching the instructor for dear life, and you see his hand move slightly to give you a thumbs up. He scared out of his mind, but he’s loving this. You are finally able to give him something he’ll never forget. Last week, you may have been forcibly removed from your home by your wife, and you may have seen Jake flushed and staring at the ground as he tried not to cry. But right now, in this moment of boundless freedom, you are creating an immortal presence in his psyche. The ground is slowly getting closer, but you don’t care. You are nearly 5000 feet over farmland 200 miles from her and your old life, and next week your new life begins on the other side of the country. But today you have him, and you have this.
You glance at Jake again and give a confident grin, much like the one you gave him as you both stood on the threshold between the plane and the sky. His apple red parachute is fully open now, and he and his instructor dangle above you and yours. You remember him making fun of your rainbow parachute, nervously shifting in his harness before the jump. The wind currents play with your feet, and you feel as though you are surfing down towards a green plate of broccoli. Tiny ants stand still in a rolling green meadow beneath you, and you hear the instructor mention “avoiding the cows.”
Jake is laughing loudly and shouting “wooo” just like he did when you took him to his first NFL game before things got ugly with Melinda. This was before she started drinking, before you met Lisa, and before Jake had to leave his expensive private school for public junior high. You thought he’d never forgive you for that, but you had to pay the mortgage somehow after Melinda lost everything that night at Harrah’s. You remember Lisa telling you to cut the cord, and you laugh a little at the irony of that statement at this moment. Lisa had Hollywood connections, and you thought you’d struck gold when she found an agent for you. She’s not your type though, bossy and demanding. You like a hands off woman, but Lisa got you a ticket away from your nightmare with Melinda.
It was so important at the time, and a week ago there was nothing else to life but escaping somehow. Now floating over everything, you seem small in the grand scheme of things. So does Melinda, so does Jake, and so does Lisa. Why even bother with any of it, you wonder. This is where freedom is, over everything. You look behind behind you and see a growing white van tracking the parachutes as the field looms larger beneath you. You experience a brief glimmer of loss and sad expectancy as you realize that landing means leaving Jake and everything you know. That van will transport you from Jake’s dad of the present to Jake’s dad of the past. You think of the football games, the graduations, the everyday accomplishments of his growing up that you will miss because of this exodus that was so tantamount a week ago. If only there was a way for everyone to win, you think, as the cows grow larger and the broccoli looks more like trees. If only there was something here for you. But as the smell of bovine reality, grass and manure, cuts into your nostrils, you know you could never be happy here. You could never really escape her on this side of the Rockies, and there is no place in your Hollywood dream for a child. As the instructor guides the swaying parachute to a safe landing point, you glace up at Jake and shout “how ‘bout it, buddy?” and cringe under his adoring grin. Next year, you will take him surfing and star spotting in L.A. But as your feet hit the damp grass, you know that he will hate you by then.


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About One Tiny Leaf

I see my writing as one tiny leaf on a great big tree of budding authors. While I hope to one day publish professionally and find a community of writers and readers, for the present this blog allows me the space to put my work to the test. I welcome any constructive comments and feedback.