People are afraid of a lot of stupid stuff, right? Clowns, the number thirteen, snakes, swapping souls with the undead, spiders—you get my drift. And for the most part, I agree, wholeheartedly, that irrational fears are just that. Irrational. Nonsensical. Stupid. I’ve never had much time for them, myself. Except for one teensy-tiny-itty-bitty thing that has always frightened me senseless. I can’t even talk about it. Thinking about it makes me cringe, takes my breath, sweating profusely now,OMG DON’T MAKE ME SAY IT!
Heights. (Pant, pant, heart racing…I’m having a serious panic attack, now!) There. Now you know the truth. I’m terrified of heights. So, I can feel you looking up at me; puzzled. I know what you’re thinking: Gee, Fallon, if you’re so afraid of heights, why are you floating a mile above the earth right now? Well, I’ll tell you the whole story. I’ve got plenty of time, anyway, since no one can figure out how to rescue me.
You see, I’ve been a weirdo since birth. Actually, my mom says she knew I was different before I was born. She says I was so heavy, she thought she was going to give birth to a ton of bricks. I came into the world almost two months early; the scrawniest looking thing you’ve ever seen. My mom said I looked like a “skint squirrel”, whatever that is. But, astonishingly, despite my appearance, I weighed a whopping ninety-four pounds at birth. Although I fit in the palm of the doctor’s hand, she could barely lift me. The medical staff didn’t know what to do with me, but since all my other vital signs were good, they shrugged and sent me home.
Now look, I know this is impossible. But, Mom says that the less I ate, the heavier I got. So, if you know anything about newborns, they tend to lose weight right after birth. That wasn’t the case for me. By the time I got home, I weighed over one-hundred pounds. I don’t remember anything, of course because I was four days old. But, Mom says I could barely move. I was brand new, for goodness sakes! I didn’t have the muscle tone to move anything except my eyes. They had to put me on the floor after I busted a hole through the crib. In fact, I stayed on the floor most of the time, because it took four grown adults to lift me. Imagine this: I fit in doll clothes because I was so tiny, but no one could lift me because I was so heavy.
My parents decided to hire a nanny after my dad threw his back out changing my diaper. Finding the right nanny for my special needs was no easy feat. Dozens of sweet little old ladies applied for the job, but they didn’t work out (literally…they didn’t workout, so they didn’t have the muscles to pick me up.) Finally, my parents advertised on a weightlifting website and this is what the ad said: nanny needed. Must be able to lift two-hundred pound infant. —So, that’s how we found Ralph. He’s basically one of the family now. Ralph is a champion body-builder with a snuggly-sweet personality. I was the perfect training tool for him and vice versa. Who needs free-weights when you have a two-hundred pound baby to throw around? Honestly, though…no joke…without Ralph, I doubt I’d have ever learned to hold my head up on my own. He worked out my little body day and night. He also had me on a balanced diet, so I developed at a normal pace.
Movement was unbelievably difficult for me as a child. My body was so heavy. On top of that, anytime I burned calories, I gained weight.
Yeah…yeah…I know what you’re thinking: “Gee, Fallon, that sounds like a great reason to avoid working out.” But if I didn’t workout, I lost muscle; therefore losing mobility. Do you see what I mean? It was a struggle.
With all that going on, I had every reason to be a miserable brat, but Ralph says I was a good kid. I didn’t even complain—Except for when he took me hiking. He had an idea that the elevation might make it easier for me to move. (It didn’t.) So, he put me in a backpack and hiked me up a mountain. At first, it was no big deal. We were amongst trees that obscured my vision and I couldn’t tell how high we were. Then, we made it to the clearing at the top of the mountain. People say it’s beautiful and you can see for miles. I can’t tell you anything about it because I took one look off the edge of the world and FREAKED OUT. I clamped my eyes shut and screamed bloody murder. Ralph says I screamed all the way down the mountain and that he’ll never fully recover his hearing—but I think he’s exaggerating.
By now, you’re probably puzzled again, aren’t you? You want to know how I got from that overweight kid who was petrified of heights, to the teen girl I am today; floating aimlessly above the city playground. (“Look Mom! There’s a humongous girl-shaped blimp!”)
(Freddie, put away your slingshot. We don’t hurl rocks at flying females.)
I guess we’d better skip to the turning point in my life. It happened at a birthday party. I wasn’t invited to many birthday parties. Mostly because of that incident with Billy Wilson’s inflatable bouncy house. I don’t know why I thought I could bounce my super-heavyweight self in there, but I suppose it made sense to me at the time. Anyways, I popped it—nope, not deflated. I POPPED IT. Like a giant overfilled balloon. It sounded like a cannon firing. Probably looked like it, too. The sudden explosion of high-pressure air sent kids flying out of there like hot kernels of corn. Don’t worry. Nobody died. And only four projectile-kids suffered broken bones. (And one concussion. He regained the ability to speak after the swelling went down, so that’s good news.) Unfortunately, that situation was enough to get five-year-old me blacklisted from parties. That is, until the kids grew out of their bouncy-house phase. It wasn’t until Maralee Watsun’s thirteenth birthday party that parents decided I wasn’t as much of a liability to have around. That, combined with my strict diet kept me hopelessly away from cake. I’m probably the only person in the world who had not tasted cake at the age of thirteen. But, when I ate that cake at Maralee’s party, my life changed and so did my body.
Put yourself in my shoes. Imagine how difficult your life would be if you were weighed down by three hundred pounds of force. The mere act of scratching your butt would be exhausting, if not impossible. You don’t like the song on the radio? Go ahead and change the station. What’s the problem? Can’t lift your one-hundred pound finger? Now, imagine you’ve lived with that your whole life and then all at once…that weight is lifted. POOF!
That’s what happened to me after I ate a slice of Maralee’s birthday cake. First, my arms felt lighter. Then, I stood up without assistance. That was the happiest moment of my life. For the first time, I played Tag with my friends. I ran and skipped and jumped; finally free and overflowing with joy.
It only lasted for a couple of hours and then WHAMMO! —gravity crashed onto me like a two-ton elevator. I was flattened. I lay there; motionless, whimpering softly. See, after having some reprieve from the weight, when it returned, it felt heavier than ever. I couldn’t lift a finger.
Maralee leaned down to talk to my tear-streaked face and said, “you look like you could use some more cake, my friend!” She stuffed a few bites in my mouth. Oh, the relief that washed over me! After a few more bites, I could lift my torso enough to feed myself.
It didn’t take much to put two and two together from there—my body obviously processed sugar differently. My mom took me to a specialist who ran some tests. Most of the tests were useless, of course, but one test provided a glimpse at the anomaly that caused my problems.
For some reason, my metabolism converts sugar and body fat into a rare element that acts something like helium-on-steroids. Whereas most people are cautioned against consuming sugar, my doctor encouraged me to eat all the sugar I could take. And of course, I was happy to follow the doctor’s orders, because sugar tastes good!
Ok. I gotta admit the next part of this story was pretty fun. I got to try all kinds of delicious treats that I’d never tasted before. (Chocolate chip cookies..YUM! Can you believe I was deprived of chocolate chip cookies for over thirteen years?) But, understand that even though I was eating more sugar, I didn’t start floating right away. For one thing, my mom and dad continued to make sure I ate balanced meals. They monitored my sugar intake because, you know, the rest of my body still needed nutrients and such. Also, the lighter I felt, the more active I became; which burned calories and made me heavy. So, at first, there were literally a lot of ups and downs while I learned to find the perfect balance. Then, just when I started to get the hang of things, puberty showed up and changed everything…again.
Ugh! PUBERTY! That’s when I started to bloat.
I mean, every girl experiences bloating when their on their period, right? Well, I’m not talking about a little bloating. I went from being a scrawny, bony-looking teen, to a puffy, oversized balloon-animal in a matter of weeks. And here’s the kicker: I looked like I weighed four-hundred pounds, but I only weighed four pounds. Most people would’ve probably been horrified to suddenly look like they’d been stung by a million bees, but it didn’t bother me. I was just happy I could move around easier. Well, at first, I could move easier. But the weird thing with gravity is, it’s just as hard to move purposefully when you’re lighter than air as it is when you’re super heavy.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have indestructible self-esteem, or anything. There are downsides to looking like you weigh a thousand pounds. I mean, I could care less what I look like—but everyone else seems to care a lot about what I look like. Strangely enough, I’ve discovered it’s worse to look overweight than it is to actually be overweight. People call me all kinds of names, as you can imagine. I would like to say that I don’t care what people say and that the words don’t hurt, but that would be a lie. “Fatty Fallon”, is the least hurtful name I’m called. That’s why I’m changing my nickname to, “Floaty Fallon”…see? Much better. It’s not just kids, either. Adult strangers frequently come up to me and offer unsolicited weight loss advice. Of course, they stomp away angrily when I explain that I don’t need to lose weight. One particularly obnoxious lady confronted my mother and publicly ridiculed her for over-feeding me.
Still, I wouldn’t trade my mobility for what the world calls, “beauty”.
And now, finally, I get to the good part. Well, it’s not so good for me. It’s scary up here; floating miles above the ground. But this story is distracting me from succumbing to terror, so here it goes: the day my feet left the ground.
My experience with anti-gravity began several months ago. Ralph, my caretaker, was training me in our home gym, just like he did every day. Of course, usually, I got heavier whenever I burned calories, but, as I explained earlier, things had gotten unpredictable since puberty. So, Ralph put weights on me—ankle weights and wrist weights, and we went for a run. When we got home, I took off the weights and felt myself lift off the floor. It was the strangest feeling! You’d think it would be fun, right? Well, you’d be wrong. I was completely off-balance; with crazy wiggle-worms in my belly like when your stomach drops on a rollercoaster. I screamed and wrapped myself around the closest thing, which just so happened to be Ralph’s head. He calmly reassured me that we would figure it out together while he put the ankle weights back on me.
The ankle weights worked for a while, then we had to get heavier weights. Then, those stopped keeping me grounded. I had long since returned to my sugarless diet, so my increasing weightlessness puzzled everyone. My mom made an appointment with the doctor, but as it is with the busy medical world, I have to wait another six months before I can see her. (Hey! actually, there she is, wayyyy down below. What a coincidence! I’m talking about my doctor right as I float over her office! “Hey!!! Dr. Kelly!”) So, anyways, in the meantime, we had to make-do.
As I was saying, it began to get increasingly difficult to keep my feet on the ground. I got a little better at maneuvering through the house by holding on to furniture, but in case you didn’t know this, you can’t “swim” through air like you can water. You just sort of float there, looking like an idiot waving your arms around. My parents tried to make it easier for me by rigging poles and handles to everything. Showering presented its own difficulty until dad installed loops and bungee cords to strap me down under the water stream. Of course, my parents removed the ceiling fans right away, which was kind of a disappointment if I’m being honest. They finally had someone who could dust those suckers and they have them removed instead. So what if I maybe cut my hand when I grabbed the blades and let it spin me around a few times?
My family “Fallon-proofed” our house, but what about the rest of the world? Am I supposed to stay at home forever? I’ve fought for mobility and freedom my whole life, so I’m not about to let a little weightlessness stop me. And what about school? I only have one semester left before graduation, for crying out loud!
My parents knew better than to discourage my determination. We put our heads together and came up with a plan. At first, we practiced inside with a bungee cord attached to my shoe. Everything worked out well, so Ralph took me for short walks outside. He said it was like walking a floating dog. (I barked at him approvingly.) I guess, that’s where we went wrong. Maybe, we got a little complacent and forgot about the consequences.
Or, possibly, I might have been in a hurry earlier today when I put on my shoes. Perhaps, I forgot to tighten my shoe.
It came loose; and so did I.
Now, it still would have been okay, probably, if Ralph had grabbed me before I flew away. But that’s not what happened. See, I insisted on a longer cord because I wanted to practice getting around on my own. At first, it went well. I stayed near the ground as I cruised from object to object. I moved from bush to shrub to tree pretty easily. Then, I made a terrible error by grabbing a loose trash bin. (In my defense, I didn’t know it was loose at the time.) I grabbed it just as a gust of wind blew me and the trashcan diagonally backwards and upwards. I let go of the trashcan, making sure to drop it on someone I didn’t like (just kidding). Ralph watched me fly behind him like a rogue kite. He ran to catch me and only managed to grab my shoe, which, unfortunately, came off.
Another gust of wind and I flew past a tree. I scrambled to grab it, but a twig snapped off in my hand. Ralph ran underneath me screaming. Poor guy. He loves me so much. It was probably traumatic to watch me float away.
“Bye Ralph! Nice knowing you!” I yelled down to him, laughing, thinking this whole thing was hilarious…until it wasn’t. I missed grabbing on to the last, tallest tree in the area and I continued to gain altitude. That’s when I freaked out. I probably looked like some sort of spastic, squealing, hot-air balloon; shaking and flailing about while emitting a siren-like wail. As I said before, I’m terrified of heights. And how does one reconcile that intense level of fear while constantly faced with it and adding to it by getting higher? Is there a moment when the brain simply can’t take anymore? A breaking point where fear surpasses sanity and a person snaps? Or…will I somehow come to grips with the fear and accept my position four miles above the earth?
And now, it seems, I have another problem. I have to pee. I really wish I hadn’t had that second cup of coffee. Well, I guess it’s lucky for the people below that my fear of heights doesn’t give me explosive diarrhea.
At least I have my phone with me. That’s how I’ve been recording all of this. And I’ve got some great pictures.
Uh oh. Here’s another gust of wind. Woahhhhh NOOOO! I’m headed for a building! No! I can’t stop! I’m gonna crash! AHHHHHH! I can’t look!
“Wait a tic. How did I get in here?”
“We saw you coming.”
“Frank opened the window and you floated right inside. You’re safe now.”
“Thank you! Now, I just have to ask for another favor…will someone please float me to the nearest restroom?”
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Super funny, Sharon! I love absurdist humor, and this is a great example of why. Totally unpredictable, totally original. This is such a fun concept for a story, and you ran with it, and I think you executed it well. Fallon being so upbeat throughout the whole thing really made me invested in the character, and I'm so glad you ended things on a positive note instead of turning her into a punching bag. It feels like the right ending for a story like this. Thanks for sharing this - I was laughing the whole way through. You've got a good eye fo...
Such an amazing compliment coming from an amazing writer! Thank you! You made my day again😻.
I love this story! The tone is very playful and I love the language you use. The absurdity of the situation is funny, heart warming and also a little heart breaking. Thank you so much for sharing this, Sharon!
Thank you so much!😻
So Fun! I loved this story from start to finish. I could see this being done as a monologue on a cloud filled stage. Very creative. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much! 😻
FANTSASTIC JOB! This was so creative, funny, and well-written! She(I don't remember her name) reminded me of Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory except she didn't turn violet of course. The only thing I wish your story had was less exposition and more dialogue.
Thank you so much for your comment! 😂 yes I imagined her very much like un-violet Violet. You’re right about dialogue. I love dialogue! I’ll work on that in my next 1st person story. 😊
You're welcome! Can you read mine, The Diaps?
This was so very enjoyable! I absolutely loved the character voice. You kept pulling me along, eager to find out what happened next. Thanks for sharing :)
Thank you so much! 😻
So funny!! Loved the sarcastic humor (and straight-up humor) added into a very interesting plot! Amazing story, well done.
Thank you, Ashley😻
What a funny story, I loved it.
Thanks so much!😻
This was delightful 😆 I was so intrigued wondering what would be her fate “in the end”. I think my favorite part was her disposition. She stayed so positive, through all the ups and downs. Very well done 👏👏👏
Thank you! I’m glad you liked it😻
i'm sorry for laughing from the beginning to the end !!!!!! i love it this is hilarious... i didnt expect how the story was gonna turn up but honestly i enjoyed it! imagine there being someone like your character in reality? i can't even imagine how she could manage!! Love your writing style also! im a big fan of first person because that's what i usually write in.
Your response made my day so thank you! I’m so happy it made you laugh. 😊