Short story about transition: Making the Leap

August 3, 2020

Collage created by Sadie with images from Pixabay

Sadie Souter explores the fear and uncertainty of diving into the unknown

A butterscotch halo of hair fluttered around her face, flitting across the sky as if it were alive.

She lifted her hand to the wind and pushed the sun away from her eyes. Teeth gritted, she felt the sea rush into her lungs, her breath catching in her chest as she watched new waves grow and old waves fall, over and over. Foam dancing on top of the desolate blue that stretched on and on to the end of the earth.

She watched it crash and crash and crash until she was weightless. Picked up and dashed like salt, across the sky, soaring, arching, twisting until she could feel no more, and her heart almost felt whole again.

Tallulah had seen these seas before, maybe in a dream or maybe many moons ago, but she felt sure that she had seen this particular shade of blue once before. She had felt this particular breeze tickle her cheeks, tasted this particular salt and certainly felt this particular twinge of sadness deep in her chest.

Her amber flecked eyes drifted down below the surface, searching.

As her gaze got lost among the seaweed and glistening silver fish, it hit her, all at once.

The world shifted underneath her, with her eyes shut to the scorching rays of the sun

A sudden rush of anger coursed through her. Painful, itchy rage twisting under her skin. She shouted into the great expanse that stretched out before her, her voice catching on the wind.

Tallulah pointed her toes down. Choking, suffocating, a word was rising in her throat. Jump! The sea called to her, its haunting melody piercing a hole into her head. Jump!

She bent her knees and the world shifted underneath her. Her stomach flipped, and she shut her eyes to the scorching rays of the sun. Jump!

Flying, breathless, Tallulah let go. In that moment she was; the sea, the sky; the sun. She shone and she froze. She could have sworn that she stayed there for hours, suspended, stuck, held up by some invisible pair of hands.

The world swam by, waves still crashed and crashed and crashed, but Tallulah was still. A star caught in daylight. Shining despite the sun.

And there, hanging on the breeze, was a heron, its elegant, ivory wings tipped in gold, stretching out through the blue, not quite like anything she had ever seen before. The heron’s eyes were so wide and so full of beauty and wisdom that Tallulah found herself falling into its entrancing stare.

She let out a gasp, floated on the breeze, not stuck but free

“Hello there!” she called, the words tumbling from her mouth without her really knowing why.
“I’m Tallulah and I’m… well, I’m a bit stuck.” The bird cocked its head to one side.
“Well I jumped and…” Tallulah could have sworn that the heron raised its eyebrows.
“How do I stop falling?” she asked, her brow furrowed with concern.
The heron gave her a knowing smile and opened its beak.
“You’re not falling my dear,” it said.
“I’m not?”
“No, you’re flying.”

Tallulah felt the air sucked out of her lungs. She saw something white flutter at the corner of her eye. She stretched her porcelain hand and felt behind her. Soft. She looked back but the heron was gone, nothing but the stretching blue before her remained.

Her hand moved further up her back to her shoulder blades. Her heart pumped faster in her chest. Feathers. She let out a gasp. Tallulah floated on the breeze, not stuck but free. She shut her eyes, feeling sunlight dance across her skin, warmth gliding to her fingers and toes.

Her heart and her belly felt full and she knew it was time to fall.

Tallulah hit the water, biting cold, and smiled.

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