Ava clumsily slipped her feet into her garden shoes. ‘Must still be half asleep,’ she thought as she picked up the seed bucket and headed down the yard. ‘Did I have to bend further to turn the tap on?’ she wondered. ‘I do feel a wee bit taller today, must have slept well, stretched out more.’ She cleaned bird baths, hung seed blocks and scattered seed to hungry beaks. ‘They are getting tame. There was a time they wouldn’t come near, and now they’re coming right up to me.’ She smiled and hurried inside to get ready for work.
Although she’d worn her new red velvet heels three days in a row, she reached for them again. She noticed the soles as she took them out of the shoe rack. Hardly a mark, a scuff or a scratch. ‘Well, you were worth the money,’ she said slipping them on lovingly.
Two days later, the alarm went off and Ava slapped at it sleepily, sat up and stretched. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and slowly stood up, but something was wrong and it took her a moment or two to work out what it was. She couldn’t feel the carpet under her feet. She wiggled her toes, looked down and fell back onto the bed in shock. Her feet weren’t touching the floor. ‘Nonsense,’ she thought to herself and stood again. But it was true. She was suspended, less than a centimetre, but suspended nonetheless, above the floor. She tentatively took a step and drifted, rather than walked forward. What on Earth was going on? How was this happening? What should she do? Maybe it was only a temporary thing, a glitch of some sort and perhaps no one would notice. So, maybe she should just wait and see what happened? All was fine for a couple of days, but then there was no hiding it. She was now drifting a foot or two above the ground, and all it took to move around was a tensing of her muscles in the direction she wanted to go. Now it was time for help. She of course, rang her mother. ‘You’re not taking drugs are you, love? Sounds like you’re hallucinating! No, well then surely you should see a doctor. Doesn’t surprise me though, you always have had your head in the clouds.’
Ava sat staring out the window, watching the pigeons wander around a rooftop below. Over the last few weeks she had been examined, tested, x rayed, scanned, poked and prodded. The doctors had called in scientists from labs and universities nationwide, but none could discover the cause of her ‘condition.’ She’d even been quizzed by ASIO, and CASA assessed her and insisted she comply with many of the laws governing drones. Finally, the experts had concluded that although they didn’t know what was causing her to fly, she posed little threat, and could be allowed to go home. She felt like a side show exhibit. Everywhere she went in the hospital, people stared and pointed and wanted to take a selfie. Or they’d called her names. Freak, abomination, the fear of a thing that they – or she – did not understand. She’d had to turn off her phone, she’d been inundated with phone calls from media outlets and agents wanting to represent her. She’d dumped her boyfriend. He’d sold his story to a tacky current affairs program and tabloid newspaper, the lure of a quick buck more important than her and the struggle she was going though. Her parents daren’t visit, they were hounded by press and locals alike in the small town they lived in and now rarely left the house. She’d never felt so alone.
At home it was no better. The media were camped outside her house, she kept the doors locked and the curtains drawn at all times. She couldn’t even venture out into the back yard. The first time she had, she’d been photographed by a journalist who had paid her neighbours to stake out her yard. She knew that eventually she’d have to face the world, come to terms with what was happening to her, but for now, all she wanted was some company, some comfort. A kindred spirit. And then it struck her, she knew the answer. Hadn’t she always loved being in her grandfather’s aviaries? She’d often napped on the large swing in the chook house as a child and now she spent most of spare time photographing and drawing birds. She opened the back door, and before long her house was full, she was surrounded by them. To people she may be a freak, but to birds she was just another creature of the air. And as her mother had said, perhaps she always had been.
(C) Jennifer B Goodwomangonetowaste.wordpress.com