I can’t fly

I’m the only one who’s been to Mexico City.

My parents want to eat dinner. We spent the day walking up and down the Aztec ruin in the center, walking up and down the Spanish cathedral in the center. The thin air and the relentless sun leave us transparent. My parents want to eat, preferably something vegetarian.

I know of a place. We’ll have to take a taxi, though.

The taxi-bus is on a cliff, overlooking the city. A nun leads us, smiling, to the launch pad. I’ve done this before, but I didn’t like it. The nun anticipates my fear. Above us, the taxi-bus is hovering, already primed to go. It begins to lower, coming closer and closer to our uplifted faces. My parents smile, welcoming the newness of this experience. I crumple, my body’s survival instinct stronger than my brain’s rationalization: “The taxi-bus is lowering until it can absorb us. Once it has come close enough, we will appear on the inside, safe and sound.” The solid mass of the vehicle is too much for my body. The idea presses me down in a faint to the floor, and I come to on the inside.

We are flying. The pilot smiles responsibly, just as the nun had below. He looks forward into the sky, bringing us to dinner. There is one other passenger besides us, strapped in next to the pilot. We are not strapped in.

The pilot has a neat trick. Do my parents want to see? They do. The back of the taxi-bus opens. We are unguarded from the velocity of the sky disappearing behind us. We are not strapped in. My parents let their bodies slide out of the back. They are walking in the sky. They walk in the shape of a square. They walk in the shape of a line. They walk slowly, as if in a garden with large manicured hedges. They leave a yellow dotted line behind them.

I am too afraid. I grip the wall of the taxi-bus, the wind and velocity tearing at my hair, my clothes. I am crying, and my tears fly out of the back of the plane, to my parents, who are walking in the sky.

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