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Leap of Faith
A hard blast of wind almost knocks me off the eight story hospital building and I barely keep my balance.
The short cement wall on the hospital rooftop that kept men from tumbling downwards serves as my stage. The world seems so small from my perch point on the hospital rooftop. The city life below appears insignificant to the grandeur of seeing the world from my new perspective. I imagine this is how God feels; high in the clouds, watching the silly people with all their petty problems.
The wind blows through my raven black hair and tugs at my hospital gown. I am more than human, I am a deity. I am an entity that views the world as a whole and not in a selfish single track vision. This gown is my robes, these slippers my sandals, and my headband the diadem of a queen.
I ignore the creaking of the heavy metal door opening behind me. I had expected someone to find me, but I know they can’t stop my steps into legendary. Nothing can stop me now.
I’m surprised. I didn’t expect Ryan to be the first on the scene. But since it’s my best friend I decide to speak to him.
“Ryan, how fortuitous you’ve arrived,” I smile down at him. He’s obviously worried; his blonde hair is already tussled by the wind. His blue eyes wide in shock. “I’m glad you’re here to see me do this. You’re the one person that can tell the world what I’ve done.”
“You don’t know what you’re doing!” he said, running towards me. “Get down Melissa! Please! Come back! We’ll talk this through! I can help you!” He reaches for me. I take a step towards the edge, causing him to halt, and then back away.
“Ryan, you’ve been my friend for years,” I said, a grin spreading across my face. “But I don’t need your help this time. This is something that I can do myself.” I turn towards the city. The sun’s high in the sky, the warmth filling me, enveloping me like fire. I feel God shine down upon me. I feel his hope, I feel his love.
I take a step forward.
Six Hours Ago
“You don’t understand!” I shout at my mother, tears trickling from my eyes. “You don’t understand what it’s like to be adopted!”
My mother glances at my father in the front seat of the van. They frown at one another, the expression of sadness evident upon their faces.
“No honey,” Mom said looking back over her seat, “we don’t know what it’s like. We have no idea what you deal with in school. Diane’s a wicked girl for calling you the ‘yellow monkey of the class’. That little…” Mom stops, she’s shaking with anger. When she relaxes she continues, “But we’re here for you, and Ryan will always be there for you too.”
I sniffle, “Big whoop. I have three people who don’t see the color of my skin while the rest of the world hates me.”
A car honks at us from behind, signaling that we aren’t moving fast enough. I turn around in my seat to see a red Mercedes tailgating us.
“There’s people in front of me, moron!” Dad shouts at the Mercedes. He isn’t paying attention; at least it doesn’t feel like it.
“Maybe we should talk to your therapist again,” Mom said. “Then we could all talk about it…” she turns to my father, “with less interruptions.”
My Dad grunts in response and proceeds to honk back at the man behind us.
“I just feel so alone, Mom.” I said, wiping my eye, “There’s no one like me because I’m the only Asian in the whole freakin’ school.”
“Sweetheart,” Mom said with a sad smile, “you’re special, there’s no one exactly like you but there’s many people in the world who’ll love that you’re special. People…people out in the world love others that stand out from them. It’s only in High School that you have to fit in. Trust me, when you get into college there’ll be so many people who’ll love you for just the way you—”
“Oh my GOD!” my father shouts just as I feel something hard slam into the back of the van. I hear glass shatter and then there’s pain. So much pain.
Suddenly there is nothing but joy. A joy so beautiful that it makes me laugh out loud and form tears in my eyes. I feel as light as a feather, I feel beautiful. I am beautiful.
Then I’m swimming, yes, swimming through an everlasting pool of complete light. A light so beautiful, so filling that it bathes me in such wonder that I have never felt before. A wonder that I doubt any other human has ever felt. I feel reborn, I feel reborn in the light. I am the light. I am a child of the light.
All my problems are gone, I’m renewed. I’m refueled in such overpowering stimulus that I scream in happiness. I sing in praise, in wonder, in every positive way that I can. I’m a fish in water, a gazelle on the plains, and a bird in the sky!
It’s gone as quickly as it had come. First the sounds of the world returns: the honking of cars and the screams of people. Then smell returns: thick exhaust fumes produced by automobiles, food from vendors, and the stink of garbage. Then feeling returns: the hard cement sidewalk presses against my face. Finally sight returns: I open my eyes and see the world…and I’m once again a part of the world.
My vision’s blurry; I can barely see anything at all. The only thing I can make out is a yellow and red flame. It dances in the distance, almost as if it’s dancing just for me. As my vision becomes clearer I see two cars crushed into one another. The dancing flames come from both of them; they are so close together that I can’t tell where one begins and the other ends. Focusing more intently I see that one’s a red Mercedes and the other a blue van.
That van looks like my family’s van.
I feel dizzy and everything goes black.
I’m in a hospital bed. My clothes are replaced with a gown, a sour taste is in my mouth. I survey the room, I see that a plastic clock hanging above the door says that more than five hours have elapsed.
There’s an IV drip in my arm and several wires are connected to my chest. At first I feel panic, but then I remember the overwhelming sense of peace. The warm tingling sensation that had once filled my body with hope and joy. I can still feel a bit of it.
And then I remember the accident, the two vehicles twisted together. I look around the room and don’t see my parents. However, I see Ryan. He’s sleeping on the couch at the other side of the room. His blonde hair is a tangled mess while his clothes are ruffled.
“Ryan?” I asked, being a light sleeper he awakes almost instantly. At first he looks around, wondering where he is. When he remembers his eyes fly open and his gaze turns upon me. In an instant he’s across the room, hugging me close to him.
“Oh my God,” he holds onto me as if he never wants to let go. “You’re awake…the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with you. You were just unconscious… they didn’t know why. They said you didn’t have a concussion and you weren’t hurt so they…they…oh thank God.”
“I’m fine,” I said, not hugging him back. I don’t know why I don’t; it’s as if something inside of me has changed. Some feeling that hadn’t been there before has suddenly become part of me.
When he finally let go he eagerly pulls a chair up beside the bed to sit down. We look at each other for a long moment. He, glad I’m alive, and me, wondering what has changed. Eventually he broke the ice.
“They found you a whole block away from the accident,” he said, he smiles like he’s just won the lottery. “They can’t explain it. They don’t know how you could’ve flown so far away and not have a mark on you.”
“And Mom and Dad?” I ask.
A shadow crosses his face. His head dips, afraid to meet my eyes. Speaking cautiously he said, “I’m sorry, Melissa. They-they didn’t make it.”
I should feel sad, but I don’t. I should cry, but I don’t. I should hate the world, but I don’t. What’s wrong with me? What has changed in me so much that I can’t even cry at my own parent’s death?
I realize Ryan was expecting a reaction so I reciprocate.
“Don’t be. What happened…happened. We can’t change that.”
“Are you okay,” he asks grasping hold of my hand, “you look in shock. Should I call the doctor? Yeah…yeah I’ll call the doctor. You’re probably-”
He attempts to leave but I swiftly grab his arm and said, “No! I mean…no. I’m fine Ryan. In fact, I’m better than fine. I feel, relaxed. I feel…like everything makes sense now.”
“All my problems, all my…everything. It feels so…ridiculous. All my crying about being Chinese, about people making fun of me…I don’t even care about how they used to do Chinese eyes anymore. I feel free. I feel…liberated. Nothing like that matters anymore.”
“Y-yeah, because of what happened…” he said. Looking closer at me, I see concern in his eyes.
“Exactly! Because of what happened!” My mind races as I piece everything together. “the car accident, I ended up a block away from the crash. I don’t have a mark on my body, Ryan! I should at least be bruised, but I’m not! I’m fine. And for…for a second…” I remember the feeling of being free. “I flew.”
“L-like out of the van?” he asked, confusion evident upon his features from my epiphany.
“No…I flew. I flew with nothing holding me up. Without any earthly methods.” I look over at him, a sense of wonderment in my eyes. “Ryan…I can fly.”
He’s speechless. For several minutes we sit in silence, just staring at one another. His jaw agape as if he’s trying to process what I’ve told him. He’s trying to process the miracle that has happened to me; the ability that I possess.
Finally he speaks, “I think I should get the doctor.” He strives to pull his arm from my grip but I hold firm.
“Can’t you understand, Ryan? Can’t you understand what has happened to me?” I’m almost laughing. “I survived when everything says I should be dead! I live! And God…yes! Yes…God! God must have given me this gift! God saved me! God saved me and gave me the gift of flight!” I feel elated, I feel joy pouring out of me, “God chose me, Ryan! God chose me to have a portion of his almighty power.”
At this, Ryan wrenches my hand from his arm and steps backwards, “I-I-I…” he dashes out of the room, shutting the door behind him. He’s scared. He’s going to get a doctor. I wouldn’t let them stop me.
I pull the IV drip and the cords off of my body and spring out of bed. I snag a pair of slippers from beside the door and take a deep breath. I need a vantage point, a place I can fly.
I turn to look at him, Ryan’s tears form in his eyes. I’ve never seen him cry before.
“Please, Melissa…stay. Stay with me. Oh God, you have no idea how much you mean to me!”
“You mean so much to me too,” I said, “You are the one person who loved me for who I am.”
“Yes I love you Melissa!” Ryan said, “I love you…and I want to be with you!”
“And I with you,” I said.
He cries out, “Then why are you doing this!? You surviving the car accident is a miracle! Don’t throw that away! Don’t throw God away! Don’t throw me away! I need you!” He began sobbing uncontrollably.
“I’m doing this for you Ryan,” I said, “I’m doing this because I love you too and I want to make you proud. I want to be more than just a…a yellow monkey in a white country. I want to be worthy, I want walk down the halls with you without insults about my heritage or my appearance. And now I can finally do that, I can finally show the world what I am and make you proud to be seen with me.”
“I am p-proud,” he weeps. He falls to his knees and cries into his hands. When he regains himself he said, “I’m p-proud of you f-for who you are! Not i-if you’re white or Ch-Chinese. Y-you’ve always b-been worthy. You’re an angel, Mel. You’re my angel!”
I look backwards one last time and see Ryan, tears stream down his face and drip off his chin. He reaches out to me, as if trying to pull me back into his arms. He’s scared for me, he doesn’t believe. But I’m going to prove that his fears are for naught. I would prove to the world how I’m a living miracle. How God has given me a gift and how I’ll use it to spread his message to the world.
“You’re right, Ryan.” I said turning away. Then I shout out to him, “I’M AN ANGEL RYAN!” I leap off the ledge of the hospital rooftop, arms spread to embrace the skies. I’m free.