Freedom In Flying By Don Bernal

A time long ago, there was a man, held captive by his own life. He was a farmer, had been, for twenty years. Every spring, he would reap in the corn, fruit, and vegetables planted the fall before. During the summer, he would sell what he could afford to let go. And during the fall, he would plant more seeds, to continue the cycle once again, leaving him modestly free for the winter.
Other than keeping warm and tending his house and animals, the man hadn't much to do. Being that sort to keep to himself, his neighbors called him "Scarce Sam", because there didn't seem to be enough of him to go around. He spent much of his time alone in his house, staring out the window, the frozen sky static to his endless stares.
When he tired of this entertainment, he would dare, dare to go into the back room of his house. A side room, barely larger than a closet, barely enough for a man to stand in without being able to turn around. He never thought of this room; spent days, when he was lucky, a week or so, completely oblivious to its existence. But he never forgot. Couldn't. It was a bad habit he never broke. He thought he never would.
The passing time, especially winter's time, was when he heard the noise. It was a low, quiet, subdued rumble from the room, he barely heard it, but it was so familiar to him. He know he heard no noise, but he found himself walking to the room, through the hallway headed for the backdoor, just stopping before reaching it, and turning right, to stare at the solid brown door.
The door was made of flimsy wood, the dark brown stain different from every other door in the house. He thought that was right; it was unlike every other room in the house. No other room gave him chills, gave him nightmares; he could stroll through the kitchen or guest bedroom without a sense of panic, tragedy.
He was staring at the dark brown door, the buzzing echoing quietly through his mind. "Why?", he asked himself. The question didn't get an answer. It didn't have one. He turned the knob, and as the door opened out to him, he felt his sobbing thunder through his chest body.
He was a boy, back when he had lived in a town far away from the town he lived in now. He lived in a farm as well, much larger than his own, with his mom and dad. Sam used to watch his dad through the window in the kitchen, staring at his dad working at the farm. He admired his dad, for the tireless effort. But not for his job. Farm work seemed dull to Sam, useful he could see, but entirely too dull. Flying, now that was a job. Being a pilot and flying those new planes. Birds, they looked like. With a twirling nose. They sounded like cars when they came close to you, but cars that could go through the air. No, planes were much more than cars, they were fast, free things. Ah, the freedom to go through the air. Now that was something. But not farm life. No, not farm life. He took a pain-filled step into the tiny room, and he was as far as he could go. The darkness was offset by the light from the back door, and the tiny airplane was spotlighted, hanging right up on the wall in front of him. He had other aviation things, the pilot's cap from an army uncle, the books about war planes that he studied religiously, every page and picture, the newspaper clippings that had pictures of planes which he placed in a makeshift album of cardboard, tape and string.
But it was the toy plane he saw always, and broke his heart time after time. The flights he would imagine, he dreamed of being in the tiny cockpit, flying over the family farm, circling over the animals, his parents craning their necks up, pointing with disbelief at their son in the plane in the sky, and young Sam would come in for a final swoop, just over his parent's heads with their astonished faces, and off he would go, a blur shrinking into the hazy afternoon. The places he would go, the cities he would see from hundreds of feet above the ground, the freedom, freedom from the ground, freedom from the roads, freedom from the farm. Freedom from the farm.
He would never know how, but always… not always, but more often than not, he would find himself on his knees, in the middle of this tiny room. After wiping away the watery tears from his lined cheeks, he would struggle to get to his feet, the years of farming always, always taking its toll. He would turn as best he could, and close the door behind him, satisfied that he wouldn't think of this room again, satisfied that the little plane's motor had stopped its humming. And he would walk back to the kitchen, sit on the chair by the window, and stare out into his farm. Ghosts of his father were there, working, endlessly, tirelessly, till the day would end, when the sun left the sky. But he himself would never know when it would; Sam would never look up into the sky when he worked on the farm.

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