A Story Like Icarus
by George Garnett
Today is the third anniversary of mommy’s disappearance and daddy decides to take little Sally to the cliff.
It’s a quiet, bright, sunny day and this makes little Sally smile. ‘No sudden wind gusts or mini-tornadoes are expected in the area,’ said the chief meteorologist on the TV last night. At least one day without any of those sudden, cataclysmic events that has become frequent visitors for the last few years.
The air is crisp and clean and the golden sun rays mercilessly bleach everything in their path – hills, forests, rivers, villages.Daddy, with little Sally on his shoulders, is climbing the steep, snaking path leading to the sharp top of the hill. He is telling a fairy-tale to little Sally. The story is about a brave man, called Icarus, who tried to reach the sun by flying on wings made from feathers and wax. Sally listens intently while her little hands clutch mommy’s gold framed portrait.
The cliff is emerging in the sky above the forest and the ravine beneath, too deep down, is all covered with sharp stones and narrow, veins-like on the body of the earth, rivers.
For the first time little Sally heard of what had happened to mommy that terrible day three years ago. Her dad told her how mommy had been flying little machines – gliders as they called them in the flight club. Little Sally clearly remembered mommy’s open face with warm, blue eyes and lips curled in a smile – like the picture she holds firmly in her hands right now. Often while mommy was singing “You can fly too, my little girl,” she would toss Sally gently in the air and the little girl, without any support, would stiffen and scream from fear and would fall back into mommy’s arms. She would giggle from the thrill and would ask mommy to do it again. She loved mommy’s gentle, but strong hands.
Sally would never forget the day mommy disappeared from their life. People said she was standing on the cliff ready to take off, her glider shining like wings of gold, when a strong wind gust – a mini tornado, came from nowhere , unexpected and unpredicted. After that Sally often heard daddy talking to himself how the gust, which took mommy, was an evil thing. Later he would say it wasn’t nature’s fault but the global warming created by the industrialization. Sally doesn’t know the meaning of the words global warming and industrialization and she doesn’t ask daddy. To her, mommy had flown high in the sky, high to the sun – like Icarus as daddy had said once.
They are close to the top when Sally notices a purple spot in the sky. The spot grows and takes the shape of a huge fan. It starts changing its color – from light blue it turns into violet, pink even light green then back to blue. The fan is moving and changing its shape, like a dance of colors. Beautiful and stunning. Sally stares mesmerized, her eyes riveted to the magic dance. Daddy, busy walking along the path, now curling on the very edge of the cliff, doesn’t notice it.
They are on the very top of the hill, the deep ravine far below. Daddy, startled, looks up at the sky.
“That’s Northern Lights! God, where did it come from?” he whispers. “This is dangerous… lightning might strike… hold on to me, Sally.” His voice is full of tension. Then he remembers about the portrait with the metal frame. He worries the frame might attract lightning.
“Sally, give me the picture, honey. Slowly, very slowly…”
While extending her hand holding the frame, Sally hears a crackling sound in the air and a thin thread of light shoots from the colorful fan above their heads. A flash of light connects them with the sky. A loud explosion and something powerful shakes their bodies. Daddy yells something, spreads his hands and as if pushed by an invisible force he lunges forward. The world turns around, the earth disappears and the sky is at their feet. There comes a swish of air with an incredible lightness in their bodies and to little Sally it seems they are flying towards the sun, like that man from the fairy tale, Icarus.