Libby Cudmore


I dreamed I had telekinesis, he says. I could pick up three cars at once. When I woke up, I couldn’t levitate anything, so I just went to work.

Lost on a back dirt road, we turn off the GPS and park the car. We trespass, lay out a blanket in a farmer’s field and look for meteors in an overcast sky. I pop the caps off two beers with an opener I keep in a pocketknife on my keychain, the bottles cold and sweating in our palms. Grass bends in the wind, tickles my nose. We share ear buds, stare upward, hold our breath and wait for shooting stars or the end of the world.

Could you levitate yourself? I ask.

I woke up before I could try, he says, his eyes like the bottom of the universe. Don’t see why not.

Levitation is the opposite of falling. Levitation is absolute freedom. Levitation does not exist. Even the stars have their orbits, their place in the universe, until they begin the absolute freefall to nothingness, dust and ash shattered on impact, maybe leaving a small chunk in a field that no one would take second notice of.

Falling is the only conceivable freedom any of us could conceivably feel. The lack of control, the inability to change course, the last prayer uttered in hopes we might somehow land intact. If we resign ourselves to the void, the moment before impact is as close to liberty as we might ever know. Nothing else matters. Not the bills, not time, nothing else. Because it could all be over in a single instant. Everything else can wait.

We close our eyes and command space junk. We make silent wishes on passing satellites. I prop up on my elbows, take a drink, edge closer to him. If the world is going to end, I want us to be sitting close, gripping hands as we spin into the infinity. I do not want either of us to fall alone.

When silver streaks our patch of sky, we laugh, disbelieving our good fortune. Did you see that? Did you SEE that?!? We toast and drink, our souls straining to bust free from the constraints of skin and muscle and bone, lift away from the absolute ache of the world. The night is filled with meteors, all falling like March rain.

We rise above our bodies, above the blanket, out into space. We leave behind our beers and the blanket and the car. Work on Monday, baseball scores, Facebook updates and text messages, none of our petty joys or frustrations matter now. What we feel tonight will be unlike anything we ever feel again.

He’s laughing. This is real, he says. He pinches himself. I’m not dreaming. Pure elation; I’ve never seen him this happy. I do not know how to feel. The freedom is sweet and terrifying. The ground is miles below us. We swim, shift stars, defy all gravity.

And just as suddenly as we began to float, the freefall begins. We tumble backwards, through black sky and clouds, the ground rushing up hard and fast. He finds my hand. I stretch out, close my eyes, and let go of it all.


Libby Cudmore's stories and essays have appeared in Pank, The Big Click, The Vestal Review, and the Stoneslide Corrective. Her debut novel is forthcoming from William Morrow in Winter 2016.
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