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I remember the exact day, the exact moment when I discovered my gift. It was a sunny day in April, warmer than usual for that time of year. We were living out in the country then, and I was helping Daddy feed the pigs. He was teasing me because I had just dropped three eggs, one of them landing square on Billy’s head. Billy was our half-blind brown tabby, and he had such an attitude. Anyway, I was upset about breaking the eggs, but Daddy was teasing me to make me laugh about it. He can always make me feel better.

One of the pigs got a little carried away and started charging around the pen. I saw the worried look on Daddy’s face as the pig turned in my direction, but before Daddy could reach me, my body lifted off the ground. There I was, just hovering in the air over the spot where only seconds before I’d been standing. I watched from my elevated perch as the old pig ran beneath me and just kept on going.

I’ll admit that I was surprised, but I wasn’t the least bit afraid. The movement felt natural, just like running or jumping, like something I’d always known how to do. I’ve thought back on that day a lot, and what always amazes me the most, well, except for the flying part, is that Daddy didn’t seem very surprised at all. Daddy’s always been on the quiet side, but he should have been wide-eyed at the very least. I just remember the look of dread that took over Daddy’s brown eyes and round face. He ran his fingers through his sandy blonde hair and said, “Sara, sweetie, we need to get inside.”

My gift.

That’s what Momma called it. Daddy marched me into the house to talk to Momma right after it happened. I followed Daddy and watched him wring his ball cap in his hands the whole way to the house. I remember that a piece of his hair was sticking up a little bit. I wanted to giggle about it, or at least ask Daddy to lift me up so that I could smooth it down, but the joking mood was gone.

I thought I was in big-time trouble, like the kind of trouble that I was in when I used Momma’s best quilt to cover our dog Lucy when she had her puppies. I wasn’t. Momma just pulled me up into her lap, and she, Daddy, and I had one of her long talks. I say her long talks because Daddy doesn’t usually have much to say—Momma makes up for both of them. This long talk is when Momma told me about my gift. She explained that God gave me a wonderful gift, but that with that gift comes the responsibility to care for it properly. Which, for the most part, means keeping it a big secret. She and Daddy explained that God doesn’t give such great gifts to everyone, so I have to make sure that no one else finds out about my special gift—ever.

That day was April 22nd, just over eight years ago. I don’t have a gift for remembering dates; It’s just that it happened to be my ninth birthday. That’s why Daddy was finally letting me help him with the pigs, something I’d been begging for as long as I knew that we had pigs.

Momma isn’t big on talking about any of this, but there are things I want to know. If I can fly, can others, too? What if there are many people out there who can fly, and they all keep it a secret so no one knows about it? What if flying is actually a common thing? We could all be flying around, and that would become the norm? All I can get out of Momma is that flying is not a common gift.

End of subject.

Also, why would God give me this wonderful gift if He doesn’t want me to use it? That question seems to stump her a little, but that’s when she pulls out the because I said so attitude that parents get to have. So annoying.

Since that sunny Saturday, a lot of things have changed in my life. Within a few days of learning about my gift, we moved from our beautiful farm in western Pennsylvania to Cleveland, and then to Buffalo, and then to Syracuse, and then to Harrisburg, and finally to the town of Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia, where we live now. I’ve had little chance to fly since that first day. Sure, I have tried a few times, but there are always too many people around to have any privacy. I’ve never come right out and actually accused my parents of moving to the city just so I’d be deprived of my special gift, but I’ve thought about it a lot. When I’m really angry with them, that’s the conclusion that I come to.

Trust me, it’s an enormous letdown to find out that you can fly, literally fly through the air, and then be told that you shouldn’t do it. It’s especially hard to learn all this at such a young age. Flying is such an exhilarating experience. The feeling of the air beneath me just can’t be explained. I have tried before, and I guess the closest thing that I can liken it to is swimming underwater, except you’re more weightless. I still have to flap my arms a little to fly so it is like swimming in that regard too. I’m not faster than a speeding bullet like Superman. I could never be a crime fighter or a super hero, or anything like that. I actually haven’t found that my flying is good for much of anything other than just my personal enjoyment. However, for that, it’s amazing.

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