Lightning flashes, thunder claps, and she is flying.
Falling in love.
That word used to scare her, when she was little. She never liked roller coasters, never liked swinging too high on the swings, never liked the idea of danger. Never in a million years did she picture herself being in love, falling in love, but maybe that was why she was out here today, sprinting down the muddy hillside as fast as she could. She wasn’t the same person who used to fear climbing a tree too high. As she stumbled on the path and threw out a hand to catch herself, lightning streaked across the sky and as she fell thunder shook the earth.
The howling wind whipped her hair out of its ponytail and into her face, and she was reminded of the day they had met. Sandy beach, crashing waves, and the breeze off the water blinded them both for a moment. As they untangled themselves from their mussed-up hair, they met each other's eyes and laughed. It wasn't anything spectacularly funny, but she was always going to remember the look of distress on his face as he tried to run his fingers through the knots in his hair.
Free as the breeze.
It wasn't falling like everyone had always said. It was a feeling of floating, flying, soaring. It wasn't that first day, she remembers, splashing and skimming over the puddles and wet cobblestone through the middle of the town. There was a day in summer when they were lazing around on the dock, pretending to fish but not really into it. They were chatting about everything (but mostly nothing), and when she looked over from the horizon to the side of his face it was just like.. someone had let go of a balloon. There's a chance to grab the string before it slips out of your hands, and when it's gone it seems to fly faster and slower at the same time. You watch it until it drifts out of sight, and there's a feeling of.. relief? Satisfaction? It's been building up for some time and when you let go of the balloon, you can feel yourself flying up with it. His eyes were on the horizon like hers had been and his hair was escaping his ponytail and the sunhat he was wearing, and she let go of the balloon.
What goes up must come down.
She was still scared. Nothing could fly forever, but she didn’t know when she was going to come down, or how hard she would land. What would happen? How much would it hurt? She was still scared of falling. Up ahead she could hear the ocean crashing on the shore ahead of her, and she thought about the cabin on the beach.
Last fall there had been a terrible storm, one that had actually flooded them in the cabin. She knew the storm was going to wipe out a lot of her crops, too, but currently they were stuck in a small one room cabin after an argument she couldn’t even remember. It must not have been that important. She remembers pulling out some chipped teacups to set under leaks in the roof before making a pot of tea for the two of them to share. Her hair down and dripping wet, she wrapped the both of them in blankets and handed him his own cup. They exchanged a few words, not charged with anger like earlier, and settled in next to each other on his small bed. As they lay listening to the rain on the roof, they began to doze off, and she felt him press a kiss to her damp hair. The heat rising in her face did more to warm her than their earlier drinks, and they fell asleep to the sound of each other breathing. In the morning a rainbow shell was waiting on the doorstep for them.
Learning to fly.
It's a lesson, it's been a lesson. It's going to be a lifelong one. Fear isn't entirely bad, she knows. She's flown and fallen, and she's never going to not be afraid of the falling. But what's life without some risk? Isn't that why she moved to the Valley anyway?
Her feet matched beat with the waves and the rain, carrying her past the familiar little cabin and over the rickety wooden bridge she hastily built (she said she'd make it more stable but that hasn't happened yet). Through the rain she sees the old mariner (half visible through the sheets of water, she isn't sure he isn't a ghost). She didn't think he'd be able to hear her if she said anything but he doesn't need to, he looked at her and smiled and he looks like her grandpa when he does. She reached out the coin purse at the same time the mariner reached his hand out, and she feels the cool shell in her hand she's running again, and the rain and tears blur her vision.
It's easy to jump when you know how to fall.
She isn't sure of the time, but she pounded on the door with all the strength she had left. Looking back, she'll realize she didn't have to sprint out of bed to the beach at 6 in the morning, but she did. After a moment the door creaks open, with him on the other side keeping the wind and rain from throwing the door off its hinges. He's surprised, of course, and says something she can't hear. She just holds her hand up, chain wrapped around her hand so the mermaid pendant dangles in the wind (but is not thrashed around, she would never let anything happen to it). She can see the surprise on his face; his girlfriend, soaked to the bone proposing in the middle of what feels like a hurricane. It's only a heartbeat before he breaks into a grin and lets the door fly open, stepping into the storm to throw his arms around her.
She knows she's crying again, and he is too, and she throws her arms around his neck as he steps into her and spins her around on the sand, laughing with exhilaration, propelled by the wind. They'll spend the next few days recovering from their early morning romp on the beach, but that is for then. Right now, their hearts are skipping, soaring, flying.
She thinks she can live with the falling.
And I feel
I found my place
In time and space
In hope and faith
And love I give
My mind is clear
I have no fear
I shed no tears
For you my dear