“Dad,” she says, “Dad, back out of the way.”
“Open the door, too. And move. Right there. No, over there.”
I open the door. I scoot out of the way. I look up at her with a question written on my face.
“So I don’t fly into you when I fly out of the room,” she answers.
She has a lot more faith in this flying shirt business than I do.
Then again, I don’t believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. She does. She believes her parents actually let strangers into the house at night to leave her toys or take her teeth, gifting her money with which to buy candy. You think at some point she’d put two and two together, figuring out that should these strangers attempt this in the day time, say, on the sidewalk, we’d call the police and have a little talk about dark vans and the dangers of tinted bubble glass. But she’s 6. She believes in magic. She believes in the kindness of northern strangers and winged fairy folk.
And she believes this flying shirt will actually work. She believes that if this test flight goes well, she’ll never need a car seat again, that she can simple flap her arms and hover above the freeway all the way to Grammy’s house. Her eyes, they are absolutely bursting with possibility.
“OK,” she says, testing her arms, “Ready?”
Her toes creep to the edge of her bunk bed. I make sure the door is open.
She counts. She launches. She hits the ground with a whomping thud.
“Hmm,” she finally says, “I don’t think … I don’t think we used the right fabric.”
Maybe that’s it.
The flying shirt was all her idea.
It was our summer project — something we were supposed to work on and perfect, but instead kept putting off in favor of camps and play dates and family vacations. Finally, with time running out, we hit the sewing machine and created this prototype monstrosity. I say monstrosity because I never tucked the wings into the shirt before sewing the sides together — essentially installing the wings on the inside of the shirt instead of the outside. I know, I know, rookie mistake. I had to tear it all apart and try again, creating something that ultimately looked like the first offerings at the inaugural Helen Keller craft show.
But we’re working on a newer, better model. I’ll have pictures and directions soon. It’s a SUPER. EASY. craft project that takes all of ten minutes but creates such magic and wonder and awe that you, too, might feel the urge to creep closer to the edge of the bunk bed and feel the rush of innocent possibility wash over your cynical soul.