My cousin, the English teacher, looked over this short story with me, so I updated it.
If I Could Fly
By: J.L. Manning
I was happily walking to the corner market to play one of their arcade games until a group of kids landed at the corner in front of me. I was becoming upset that I won’t be playing a game, I ran, not from the flying kids, but to the front door of the market. They saw me running, so Rob, the worst of them, flew over me, hovered at the door, and wouldn’t let me pass. He pushed me down with his feet before following his friends into the market.
Rob was one of those bullies who thought he kept his place within his group of friends by pushing other kids down who were weaker than him. Since I was one of the few who couldn’t fly, I was easy pickings for him. I was used to being pushed down by him, so I jumped right back up thinking that I’d better rush before the four games were occupied. One of the games was still being played by a neighbor of mine, so I stood behind him.
The three other games were being played by the kids who flew in before me with Rob floating behind them, looking over their shoulders. I was planted behind my neighbor trying to watch the game he was playing, but then I hit the floor. Rob pushed me down again; this time he used his hands. I didn’t see him coming, and I hit the marble tiles hard. My head struck the floor, and I couldn’t help but to tear up.
Rob was laughing, “Boy, you’re supposed to land on your feet not your head.”
With a yelp and a few tears, I stopped myself from crying out-loud, but I ran out of the market, and by the time I got home, I was out of breath. My mother pored me a glass of iced tea and after seeing the bump, she got ice for my head. I’ve stopped wining to her years ago, but she insists on caring for me and I didn’t mind it, this time.
The next day at school, the kids from the market floated by me and laughed at the bulging bump on my head. They weren’t the only kids who flew at the school; in fact, there were only a few of us who couldn’t. I was in mainstream classes for all of my subjects except for the gym class because I couldn’t fly. The gym class I went to wasn’t considered a mainstream class. I hate the term “mainstream classes” because it makes me feel left out.
I laugh at all of the mainstream students, calling them fish swimming in the main stream. In my head, I say, I’m no trout. Since most of the students could fly it was rare for anybody to fall, so the day went by with the students joking about me bumping my head. At the gym class I was telling my classmates what had happened and most of them could relate, but John overheard us consoling each other.
In sixth grade, John was five foot two, but he soon stopped growing, and by eighth grade, most of the students had reached his height. The students didn’t fear him for his height, even in sixth grade, but they knew better than to get him angry, because of his short temper. We used to be friends, but one day I said something I shouldn’t have, and I ended up running from him saying, “I was just joking…!”
John wasn’t one to hold a grudge, but I’ve kept my distance from him since then. His only real friend has been Bill, who was always by his side. They both were in the gym class and after John heard me telling the other kids what had happened, he was annoyed. “That punk actually hurt you?”
I wasn’t sure if John was showing concern for me or if he was angry with Rob for being Rob, and was looking for reason to fight. “Um, I’m alright, John.”
“Rob pushed you down because you aren’t a flyer, and he can just float away from you. If you fought back, well…he’s lucky he can fly from me….” John said, remembering times when Rob made the mistake of belittling him.
Rob was now taller than he was, so I was not sure if it would be wise to boost John’s anger at Rob. “John, it’s okay. I know that Rob pushes us down because he thinks so little of himself.”
John laughed, but stopped quickly. “If Rob thinks he can push us down…he’s got other things to think about than how little he is.”
The entire class was laughing. “Yeah, you’ll show him!”
I didn’t want there to be a fight because of me. “I—um, John, you aren’t going to beat up Rob for me are you? Because, he’s not worth your trouble.” Trying to help him to understand that it wouldn’t be worth getting hurt was harder than I thought.
“What, no! I’m going to pound his face in because I don’t like flyers who think they can bully people who can’t fly.” I think he was trying to justify starting a fight with Rob.
“John, it’s hard for some people to see how much they have, so they try to prove themselves by pushing people with less down.” Great, now I sound like a counselor. I knew that John had a short temper, but I didn’t want to use him to get back at Rob. I could imagine seeing John, throwing punch after punch at Rob but not being able to reach him.
“Oh stop it, Mat. A while ago, my Dad was trying to understand my anger issues, and one of the psychologists he sent me to said something like that, but I never pushed the small kids around…well, not more than a smack.” John was becoming annoyed with me, so I thought I’d better get to the point.
“I just don’t want you to start a fight because of me.”
“It wouldn’t be because of you, Mat!” Luckily, as John raised his hand to smack me, Bill grabbed his arm and tried to calm him down.
After school, I usually avoid the flying kids who push me down, but I wanted to stop John if he was going to start a fight. I saw him having an argument with Bill that ended with John shoving him to the ground. The other students from the gym class were watching, and they let out an, “Oh…!”
Rob and his friends were about to fly off, but they heard my classmates. They stopped and turned to see John starting another fight. “Oh look, the flightless kids are fighting.” Rob floated to the group. “Don’t stop on my account.” He got a little too close to John, and without a word, a punch flew up to Rob’s face.
“Bill, did you see that? They aren’t as fast as you thought.” Bill was still with the group, but was a few steps back after being knocked down.
Before I could say, stop fighting, the school monitors flew in to stop John from throwing another punch. Rob had a bloody lip and was having too much trouble focusing to fly himself to the nurse’s office, so he was carried by two monitors.
John was disciplined, again, and I asked myself, what would I do if I could fly? Would I be a bully, and flaunt my power or use it to help?
I did realize that the power to fly was common, so I wouldn’t have much power, except over the people who couldn’t fly. I hoped I would help the people who can’t fly, so I would feel worthy of having such power. Then a thought came to me, if John could fly what would he be like?
I was reminded of the quote, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
I guess Rob hasn’t heard that one.