• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 12
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The crowd shuffles forward. I catch a glimpse of the girl at the front of the line. The dress looks misshapen – its hem muddied from trailing through the grass. In the poster, the dress is turquoise, translucent fabric and glimpses of blue-tinged sunlight as it moves through the air. Real life was less hypnotic, as though with the expectations of each new body, the dress shed another layer of colour.

What's the deal with the dress? I whisper to the woman behind me.

Ease of flight, she says to me, reciting the brochure. To make the scales more accurate.

I watch the girl in the dress sit in the blue harness, the scales wobbling as it adjusts. If done correctly, the scales slowly decrease as your body and mind become lighter. Or so the Instagram testimonials said.

I am a new woman! – Betty, Chester.
I never think about texting Dave now – Sandra, Brighton.
I got a promotion the Monday after – highly recommend! – anonymous, Glasgow.

I wondered what I might say.

As I watch, her body glides through the air. She is engulfed in a wash of fabric as her toes touch the edge of the clouds. To my left, a fast and furious clicking sound. I turn to see the photographer hired to capture a baptism by flight.

The scales reveal a drop of 10 lbs.



Highest score today! the attendant calls to rapturous applause.

I hope I do well. I need some positive energy to move house, I hear another voice say.

And then it was my turn.

I adjust the harness. At some point, after signing the risk assessment form, I am talked into wearing the dress. A discounted price for one day only and great for socials! the attendant says, a smile plastered across her face. I imagine how she will sit in the pub with friends after work, pint in hand, as she laughs about women who have more money than sense, how you could sell them anything.

Maybe I was foolish. Even now, as an adult, I would sneak into the playground late at night on my way home, bleary-eyed drunken teenagers watching me with suspicion as I kick my feet, with furious speed, to lift my body from its listless state.

The first push is always the most jarring with the transition from being on land to airless suspension. You forget how to hold your arms and legs. Yet, as momentum builds, something shifts. I see green hills and a broken fence. I watch the dirt trail, bodies winding down the mountainside, and listen to the whistle of fabric in the wind, the harness cutting into my thighs. As with most targeted ads, it's hard to tell between a placebo effect or wishful thinking for a fortuitous encounter at the right time. And yet, I still wonder what we find of ourselves in this space between ground and sky, and convince myself I feel a little lighter.