When I Learned To Fly
Mark Tate
Flash Fiction winner

My father drove us to Oklahoma in his '53 Oldsmobile sedan. I layed on the floor of the car behind his seat, sweating from the heat off the road below us and the heat blowing over me from the open windows. I had learned his powerful arm could not reach me when I played on the floor of the car.

It was 1958 and I was five years old, going to see my grandparents for the first time. I had a red Flying A horse that danced in the palm of my hand or flew to a heaven I imagined far over the red sun. When the car was moving, I might stick my red horse with some worn out gum up on the back of his seat. There, I would tell him where I wanted to go if I could ride him, or ask him what I might find beyond the horizon. I learned to fly while my father drove. Once the car stopped, I would grab the horse off the back of his seat.

When we arrived at my grandparents' house in the small town, a cloud of dust grew from below the car and took a long time to settle. The sunset was a raspberry color over the red dirt. My father hugged his mother and shook his father's hand. I must have dropped my horse somewhere in the dusty redness of the tired dirt when my father took my hand and walked us into the house.

First published: May, 2003
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