by Jeff Grogan
In his first dream as a boy of eight years, Lytle flew.
It began as the summer breeze tickled his cheek. His dozing mind bloomed the sensation into the cool, misty tickle of falling into a puffy cloud. If his mother had walked into the closet-sized bedroom at that moment, she would have watched a smile stretch, with every exhale, onto her son’s face.
He, however, saw dawn.
He also saw a river and a large body of water at one end of it. He wanted it to be an ocean, and so it was. He dove down to chase the river water to the ocean.
Testing the limits of his new playground, he imagined the water chugging over a rocky riverbed, which he flitted just a few feet above. With a thought, the gentle stream grew deeper and suddenly plummeted a hundred feet into a small, misty pool shaded by trees.
His gaze turned toward the sky and clouds appeared on cue to form a curiously solid-looking canyon. Two towering vapor banks lined the path Lytle planned to take. The sleepy sun colored the cloud-walls sandstone. Ahead, he imagined the two walls joining at the top to form a bridge. So they did.
With a frog-kick of his legs he soared to the new bridge at the end of the gorge. He laughed and twirled about, hearing only the thunder of rushing wind tugging at his floppy ears.
He was just nearing the cloud bridge when he noticed a strange movement at one corner of his vision.
In the great distance lay a cloud field Lytle only had a very small thought of. Out of this field rose a three-masted sailing ship the size of a thimble, but which moved like a whale. Almost magnetically, he drifted toward the strange interruption.
The ship grew as he approached until its sails towered over Lytle and as he thought how to sneak aboard, a small – no, a normal-size man in the crow’s nest swept a spyglass around in a circle. Spotting Lytle’s floating figure, the lens doubled back, glinting brass sunlight into Lytle’s unblinking eyes.
“Ahoy! Man overboard!” cried the astonished lookout.
Instantly, two dozen shoulders with heads popped over the creaking rail of the ship, all staring at Lytle. He was very amused. They all began shouting at once and Lytle laughed. He crossed his legs in mid-air, then closed his eyes and imagined himself sitting on the deck.
He opened his eyes to stunned silence as all the ship’s crew gaped at the small boy who materialized on their vessel and Lytle laughed even harder, tipping backward until he collapsed on the hardwood deck. After flying for so long, the realness of the pain in the wood shocked him and he was awake at once and tangled in his quilt, subconsciously rubbing a bruise blossoming on his shoulder.
He climbed back into bed, still laughing in breaths despite the pain in his back and head. The wood frame of his bed creaked with smallness, but to Lytle, it was the deep groan of his favorite dream-ship.
Jeff Grogan is a Professional Writing major at Taylor University.