The Wish Twin
The boy and the old plane both wished to fly, but the plane no longer believed in wishes. It had been so long since it had flown; abandoned, broken, and alone. The plane had forgotten how to believe. It’s hard to believe when you’re just parts in a shed. Separated so long from the sky, it’s easy to forget you can fly.
The boy had spent his whole life watching airplanes fly past him. Wishing on each one, that someday he would go with them. Wading waist-high in the wheat, watching a Cub fly away, the most unusual thing happened. He heard the sound of a radial engine. How could that be? That’s not the sound a Cub makes. Just then the wind whipped a path across the wheat and waved at him. “Over here, follow me,” the wind beckoned. He turned the corner of his curiosity, following the rumble-clicking, lope, lope, loping of the radial engine. Over the field, through the orchard, and past the old barn the sound lead. It ended at the door of a shed. The boy turned the knob and peeked in. Stacked floor to ceiling; boxes and bags and parts and pieces sat motionless in the dark. Once inside, his imagination opened as wide as his eyes when he saw a plane looking back at him.
The boy nudged his tongue to speak up and say what he was feeling inside, “Who do you belong to?”
“Planes don’t belong to anyone,” the plane replied. “Planes have caretakers. We live longer than people. People are the only ones who think they can own things.”
The boy shuffled through his mind, searching for the best thought he could find, “If you would teach me how to fly, I would be the very best caretaker of you.”
“All children know how to fly,” the plane replied. “It’s only after they grow up that they forget that they do. I used to fly with a little boy like you, then a caretaker bought me. We went to work spraying his crops. One day he decided he didn’t need me anymore. He left me in the field, alone, on the side of the barn. I waited for fifty-five years for a caretaker to return. Believing each day I would fly and each night when I did not, I broke apart. Piece by piece. Now I’m just parts in a shed. Separated so long from the sky I have forgotten how to believe I can fly.”
The boy opened his heart as wide as it would go, and inside he found what he was longing for, “If you would trust me and be my plane, I would help you believe again.”
“Why should I trust you?” the plane replied. “A caretaker is free to fly anything, but I cannot fly without you.”
The boy stood on his toes and a promise lifted up from his soul, “I promise I will fly with you.”
“Why should I believe you?” the plane replied.
The boy extended his hand into the darkness of the shed and a wooden wing reached out to him, “Because I am your Wish Twin. Everyone has a Wish Twin. Someone, somewhere has the same wish as you. If you give your wish to them, both your wishes will come true. Wishes need help from believing to come true. Until you believe you can fly again, I will believe enough for two. How can I help you?”
“Restore me,” the plane replied.
The boy turned the answer over and over in his head, searching for the right end of his next question, “How do you restore something?”
“Patience,” the plane replied. “Planes live forever so time is different for us. Planes only count the minutes they fly. Every minute you fly adds a minute to your life, so planes never die. Planes are built and wait to be restored, again and again.”
The boy stubbed his brain on the thought of forever and saw his patience coming to an end, “How long will I have to be patient? When will you be done?”
“I will be done on the Eighth Day of the week,” the plane replied.
The boy put his hands on his hips and foolish pride came out his lips, “There are only seven days in a week. There is no Eighth Day. You’re pulling my leg.”
“I am not,” the plane replied. “It is the day people forgot. The Eighth Day is the day time stops.”
The boy tilted his head and disbelief rolled out the other side, “When will the Eighth Day begin?”
“You never know when it’s about to begin and you never know when it’s about to end, “ the plane replied. “The Eighth Day can last longer than your lifetime, but feels like it flew by when it ends. Hidden in-between the moment of realization and the time of a lifetime, the Eighth Day begins with the first movement of the red hands.”
There on the left of the shed, hiding in the corner of an old panel, was a very small clock with a set of very red hands. The boy thought It must be a special clock because small things hold the biggest secrets after all. If he was going to hide magic in something, he would hide magic in something small.
The boy unlocked his imagination and a question of hope floated off the top of his head, “Tell me about the clock?”
“An Eight Day Clock looks like any other clock used to keep time, but it has an extra set of red hands,” the plane replied. “You wind up an ordinary clock and it counts time down to the end. After seven days an ordinary clock runs out of time. Then it waits to be wound back up, to start counting back down again. If planes measured their lives like people, watching the clock winding down every day, we wouldn’t want to live that way. The amount of time it takes to restore a plane can be very long. Once restoration starts there is no telling when it will be done. Restoration’s need extra patience to get planes and their caretakers through to the end. That’s where the Eighth Day comes in. The Eighth Day is where all the extra patience in the world is kept. Patience leftover from all the minutes adults have forgotten to take. Adults are so busy measuring their lives by work weeks and weekends. Counting the time between their beginning’s and end’s. Adults have forgotten all the minutes they forgot to take time for. Minutes spent wondering…
What do clouds feel like on your skin?
Does the wind know you’re coming and tell the wheat to wave at you?
If you spent your whole life in the sky would you eventually turn blue?
Minutes spent wondering about the most wondrous things. Things planes and children always take the time to do.
The Eighth Day starts when you believe there is all the time in the world waiting for you. It is the day planes remember and people forgot. The Eighth Day is the day time stops and restoration’s begin.”
The boy sat down on the floor of the shed. Next to the boxes and bags and parts and pieces, as dreams of flying flew through his head.
“If you tell me what it feels like to fly, it will help me be patient,” the boy said. “It is very hard to wait for the Eighth Day to begin. I always have so much to do, and so little time to do it in. Swimming and skating and sleepovers and summer camp. There’s ice cream for dinner nights, boat rides, treasure hunts, and games of kick the can. When you never have enough time to do all the things you like to do, it’s very hard to believe there is all the time in the world waiting for you.”
The plane smiled inside. It had been so long since the plane had a little boy for company.
“Climb up my wing, buckle up, put your hands on my stick. I can’t wait to show you what it feels like to fly,” the plane replied. “Let’s fly over there. That’s the feeling I’ve been waiting to share. Hang your head over the side and pretend. Flying feels like riding your bike down the soapbox derby track with no hands. Like you’re a birthday candle blowing yourself out in the wind. Flying feels like goosebumps bubbling up from inside your skin. Like you’re a can of soda pop you just shook up, popped your top, and spilled smiles down your chin. Feel the wind blowing your breathe away? Feel your bubbles bubbling out from within?”
The boy smiled on the outside as giggles bubbled out of him.
“Let’s fly over there, that’s the feeling I’ve been waiting to share,” the plane began again. “See how the sky changes color at dinner time? A sky feast awaits. Hang your head over the side and breathe in. Smell the orchard in the wind? Like someone just put apple blossom’s up your nose. Now look down, into the ground. Use your imagination. See the purple in the trees? Bite in, what do you taste? Does the purple in the ground taste like plums or popsicles to you? Now look high, into the sky. Feel how the light spreads, warming and melting on your skin. Use your imagination. Lick it, what do you taste? Does the yellow in the sun taste like honey or buttered popcorn?”
The plane waited for the boy to reply, but he had fallen asleep on the floor of the shed. The plane smiled inside. It had been so long since the plane had a little boy asleep under it’s wing.
In the cool darkness of the shed the boy started to dream. Perhaps it was a dream, but no one can ever be sure if dreams aren’t real. He dream’t that wild men blew through the meadow with wind and blue flames in their hair. Flying biplanes and wearing boots as tall as their knees. They pulled the wind out of their hair and wrapped it around the barn like a scarf. Then the men blew flames across the beams to break the barn’s roof apart. With hands as big as hams, they picked up the wood and wove it into the plane’s wings. Then the wild men laid leather coats on the seats and took the shirts off their backs to patch the plane’s fabric with their sleeves. They laughed so loud it shook the ground. Then they poured gas from their flasks into the engine, until it glowed bright blue. When the plane was done, and shining like new, the wild men wrapped the wind around their necks again and blew back from where they blew in. Somewhere over the horizon, half-past the point of no return, the wild men danced with the wind over the top of the moon.
When the boy woke up it was almost dark. It had been the most distracting day. Such unusual things; magic clocks and talking planes. Now his tongue tasted like the color blue. The boy didn’t want to leave, but he had so many things to do.
A promises rose up with him as he stood up from the floor of the shed to leave, “I believe I AM going to fly, and I believe I AM going to fly for you too.”
The plane frowned inside and replied, “Separated so long from the sky, I have forgotten how to believe I can fly.”
The boy remembered the words his father told him when he wanted to stop believing in things. “You’re wrong,” the boy said. “Believing never ends, it can be forgotten and remembered again. Believing begins with the words, I am. Small things hold the biggest secrets after all. When you start a thought with I am, anything is possible at the end. Starting a thought with, am I, is like starting a thought with I can’t! A thought that begins by saying, I AM, makes your thought end with I CAN.”
The plane didn’t reply. Nothing says a lot, it just doesn’t use any words to say it in.
“I promise I’ll be back,” the boy said. “I promise I am going to restore you and we will fly someday. I won’t forget you. I love you, you’re my Wish Twin.” Then the boy closed the door of the shed and the plane was left alone in the dark.
The boy was already past the orchard and through the field when the plane replied, “I believe you.” The plane smiled inside. It had been so long since the plane had a boy say, “I love you.”
Just then, on the left of the shed, hidden in the corner of an old panel. The very small clock, with a set of very red hands, started to change…and glow.
Many years had passed, almost ten, until the boy waded waist-high in the wheat once again. The boy was now a young man. It was the evening before he was to leave for college. His plans had grown as tall as him. He had majors to declare and graduate school to attend. Jobs to win and a house to buy, maybe two? He was such a busy young man, with so much to do. Lost in his ambition, he didn’t notice the P-51 flying past him until he heard the sound of a radial engine. He looked up and questioned, How could that be? That’s not the sound a Mustang makes. Just then he remembered what he had forgotten to remember again. Over the field, through the orchard, and past the old barn the young man ran. Tripping over his guilt, he fell short of his expectation’s at the door of the shed. Ashamed to face the plane he had left alone for so long. The young man stared at the door in front of him.
“Please come in,” the plane said from within the darkness of the shed. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
The young man turned the knob and peeked inside. Stacked floor to ceiling; boxes and bags and parts and pieces sat motionless in the dark. Just as he remembered them, but different. The plane looked tired and older then it had been. The young man opened the door wide to let the sunlight in, then gently brushed the dust off the corner of the wooden wing.
The plane smiled inside. It had been so long since the plane had a young man brush its wing. “You’ve grown so high,” the plane replied. “I have so much to tell you. It will take some time to restore me, but time flies by when you like what you do. I remembered so much while you were away. There is so much to say. I believe I can fly again. Will we start today? ”
The young man blushed and looked back at the door. Thinking his actions before he did them. “I don’t have time,” were the only words he could say.
The plane starting thinking very seriously. Planes do that when they want to tell you something you don’t know is true, but they do. The plane had so many things to tell the young man before he went away. The plane knew it would be a long time until they talked again. So much was about to happen to the young man. The plane wanted to warn him.
“Listen to me,” the plane said. “Stay out of the trees. There’s burble there. Burble is wind that’s lost its way. It doesn’t know what to do, it’s confused. Burble starts to listen to what the trees say, instead of what the wind knows is true. Burble in the trees can be very dangerous to you.
Listen to me. Beware of the slope, don’t go there. Once you start down the slope you can’t stop. Never listen to what the slope has to say, put on your brakes and brake straight ahead. Then take off and fly the other way.
Listen to me. Learn to read the clouds. Indifference can turn to anger in an instant. If the clouds start to boil, bark, and turn dark, fly towards the light. Never stay in a dark sky. Learn to feel the gust front approaching and watch for ripples on your skin. They warn you that there is danger hiding within.
Listen to me. The route anywhere is never direct. Learn to turn left and turn right. If you never get lost, how can you ever find found? You have to wander off your course to find your way back again. When you can’t see what’s ahead of you, let go. Weathervane. The wind will show you the way.”
The young man’s impatience grew as broad as his shoulders. Ego and pride flexed inside him, “I am not a boy anymore. I am a man. I don’t need your advice. I don’t have time to stay here listening to a crazy old plane and waiting for a stupid Eighth Day. None of what you say makes sense. I have so much to do before I leave for school. There’s packing and a suit to buy and fireworks on the lake tonight with chocolate cake. I said, I don’t have time for you!”
The young man searched through the shed until he found what he was searching for. A hammer, nails, and a large wooden board. “I am doing this for your own good,” he said. “I am protecting you. I have my life all planned out. I’m going to make a lot of money and be a big deal. After I’m rich and famous I’ll buy you. All it takes to restore anything is a lot of money anyway. Right?”
The plane didn’t reply. Nothing says a lot, it just doesn’t use any words to say it.
The young man boarded the door and left.
From inside the darkness of the shed the young man could not see the plane’s rudder wagging back at him. Planes can never hurt anyone back, only people can. Had the young man spent time with the plane that day, he would have learned his life had a much different plan for him.
The next morning the young man sat on the dock of the lake, and hung his head over the edge with his legs. He was ashamed of the way he had treated the plane. He said inside, Forgive me, please? I’m sorry I didn’t make time for you. The sound of a radial engine answered him. A Beaver lifted off in the fog as his tears filled the empty space its float’s left on the surface of the lake. The young man knew what he had to do. So over the field, through the orchard, and past the old barn he ran once again.
The young man stood outside the shed. He wanted to open the door and say, I love you. But saying, I love you, is something young men find very hard to do. He whispered at the door of the shed instead, “ Remember, I am your Wish Twin. I promise we will fly together soon. I won’t forget you ever again.”
The young man was already past the orchard and through the field when the plane replied, “I forgive you. I love you too.” The plane smiled inside, grinning wing to wing. It had been so long since the plane had said, I love you too, to him. The young man did not know what the plane had mean’t, when ten years ago the plane had told him, “I used to fly with a little boy like you.” Planes live forever so time is different for them. The young man did not understand the little boy the plane used to fly with, was him.
Just then, on the left of the shed, hidden in the corner of an old panel. The very small clock, with a set of very red hands, started to change…and glow.
Many years had passed, almost twenty, until the young man waded in the wheat again. He was now a man. So tall the wheat barely touched his knees. The young man had grown up to to be a very big deal indeed. Made a lot of money and was rich and famous. On this day he didn’t feel like a big deal at all. Counting all his would’ves, could’ves, and might-have-beens, the man didn’t notice the Stearman flying past him until he heard the sound of a radial engine. He looked up and remembered what he had forgotten to remember again. Just then the wind whipped a path across the wheat and waved at him. “Over here, follow me,” the wind beckoned. Following the rumble-clicking, lope, lope, loping of the radial engine the man ran. Over the field, through the orchard, and past the old barn. The shed was still there with the board nailed over the door. Just as he had left it so many years before.
The man stood at the door and a prayer floated off his lips through his clasped fingertips, “I need one good thing today. I need the plane to still be here.”
“Please come in,” the plane said from within the darkness of the shed. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
The man ripped the board off the door with such force, the door flew from its hinges onto the floor. A whew flew out of him too. The plane would know what to do. “This is the worst day of my life. I’m about to lose everything. My job, my houses, my reputation, my money. What will people think of me? What should I do?
“Nothing.” the plane replied. “When you worry and are in a hurry, you make mistakes. Sit and rest awhile. I have so much to tell you. It will take some time to restore me, but time flies by when you like what you do. I think we will start today.
The man couldn’t believe the words he just heard and shook his head to clear them out of his ears. “Nothing. Do nothing on the worst day of my life? Restore you. Really, that’s your advice? This day couldn’t get any worse.”
“You don’t mean that,” the plane replied. “Words are real they never go away. You have to choose carefully the words you choose to say. That is a big thought you haven’t thought about. The worst day can get worse and it can get better too. That’s all up to you. If you spent your whole life in the sky would you eventually turn blue?”
The man held his reply inside until his face turned blue and he blew too. “What?! I am not a boy anymore. I am a man with bills to pay and responsibilities. None of what you said makes any sense. I have suits to pack, a drive to make, a plane to catch, a train to take, and three job interview’s to get to. I should have known better than to think you would understand. You’re just a bunch of old parts in a shed. What do you know about losing anything?”
“All the things you think you’re losing you could get back again. If you wanted them?” the plane replied. “Have you looked in the shed? There are some reputations in the useless parts box. Right behind the waste of space measuring tape and the too big for your britches wheel pants. You’re welcome to take one to see if that’s the reputation you’re losing. There are plenty of other peoples’ thought’s on the unsure of yourself shelf. Up there, in the right-wrong corner, looking down on you. You’re welcome to take those thoughts too, if they’re more important than the thoughts you think about you.”
The man smiled inside and his smile skipped up his chin all the way to the top of his forehead. It was the first smile that had run around his face in awhile.
“Sometimes you lose things you don’t need to make room for the things you do,” the plane said. “There is nothing you could lose that is more important than you.”
The mans’ thought’s froze inside him. They cracked his pride. The plane was right. He wanted to open his mouth and say, I was wrong, but the words stuck to his tongue. He was too embarrassed to unstick them.
“I used to fly with a little boy like you,” the plane replied to what the man had not said. “He thought he had lost something that was very important to him too. I told him if he would be patient, he would see everything was going to be better soon. By the old panel, next to the very small clock, there’s a leather pouch. Please look in.”
The man opened the leather pouch and pulled its inside’s out. He found a picture and an airplane registration. The man picked up the old picture and held it to the light in the shed. “Hey, that kid looks like me,” the man said.
The man’s resignation handed in his dream of flying, “Sorry old friend. I spent my life watching airplanes fly by me. Wishing on each one, that someday I would go with them. I always wanted to have my own plane. I even bought a pilot’s watch to remind me to take the time to go flying. I never did. I never took the time to do anything I wanted to do. I was too busy working. I sold my watch today. No point in believing I ever will.”
The plane smiled inside, “Believing never ends, it can be forgotten and remembered again. It’s my turn to believe enough for two.”
The man reached for the airplane registration. “I wonder who owns you?”
The man’s eyes grew wide as he registered the name on the registration. His name and address looked back at him. The man’s thought’s spun inside his head and threw out a question, “What’s going on here? ” He turned the registration over and in his handwriting he saw his name again. On the right, right after it, was written, Jr.. “I don’t have a plane or a kid,” the man said. “What is this, some kind of a trick?”
The plane starting thinking very seriously. Planes do that when they want to tell you something you don’t know is true but they do. If you remember your consequences before they happen, you won’t have to regret them. The plane wanted to protect him from a mistake he was about to make again. The worst day can get worse but it can always get better too.
“I used to fly with a little boy like you,” the plane said again. “He sat below my wing and cried too. He thought it was the worst day of his life. The man who owned this shed was a very mean man. He didn’t like dogs or children. He didn’t like anyone looking around his barn. It was full of planes he never flew. The man was very small and made himself feel tall standing on top of his possessions. The boy had been playing in the man’s planes. Promising each one, someday he would fly them away. The boy visited the planes each week and left his dog in the field by his Cub. His dog was his first best friend. The boy came back to his Cub and his dog was gone. He called and called for him. He was so sad. He thought he’d never have another best friend. He was so mad. He thought, if the mean old man took my dog, I’ll show him. I told the boy he should wait under my wing and do nothing. The clouds were starting to boil, bark, and turn dark. He was always such a busy boy with so much to do. He had to find his dog. He had to fly around the farm and look for him. When you worry and are in a hurry, you make mistakes. There are some mistakes you can’t retake. Your dog was waiting at home for you.”
The plane waited for the man to reply but he had fallen asleep on the floor of the shed. Being busy makes you very tired. The plane beamed with pride. It had been the best day of the plane’s life watching the boy grow into a man. But planes live forever, so time is different for them.
In the cool darkness of the shed the plane said, “There are just a bunch of old parts in this shed. Parts of so many planes, all part of the same. All waiting for you to fly us away. All waiting for the boy who sat in our seats, wondering the most wondrous things, to come back again. You don’t remember us but we remember you. We saved all the extra patience we had waiting to see you, so you could spend time doing all the things you never got to do.
I would give my frame to protect you. You are my first best friend. I believed in wishes again when you said you needed me today. Wishes need to be needed to come true, planes need to be needed too. A wish that is good and true, is never too good to come true.
I believe I AM going to fly, and I believe I AM going to fly today for you too.”
Just then, on the left of the shed, hidden in the corner of an old panel. The very small clock, with a set of very red hands, started to change…and move.
“Dad. Dad, wake up,” a boy said. “What are you doing here? I saw a Cub fly by and followed it. Dad get up. Who’s Cub is this?”
The older man woke up in the grass and looked at the face standing above him. The face opened a place inside his memory he had forgotten to remember again. It was his son.
The older man sat up and hit his head on the strut of the Cub. He rubbed all his questions and a lump, What just happened? Was it a dream? Perhaps it was a dream, but no one can ever be sure if dreams aren’t real.
The older man walked into the shed. It was empty except for a small piece of paper on the floor. He picked it up and saw it was the registration for the Cub outside the door. His name and address looked back at him. He turned the registration over and in his handwriting he saw his present. On the right, right after it, was written, Jr.. In the space where the paper had been, was a watch. It was the pilot’s watch he had sold on the worst day of his life. He lifted the watch to the light of the shed and read the inscription. I believe you can fly. Your Wish Twin.
In the cool darkness of the shed a voice said, “Tick-tock. You’ve got so much to do and all the time in the world to do it in. What do you want to be when you grow up again?”
His son called from the backseat of the Piper Cub, “Daaaad, who’s the owner of this Cub? Can you teach me to fly someday?”
The older man’s answer lifted him up off his knees, “I am. I can. I believe.”
Just then, on the left corner of the shed, a butterfly flew out the door and landed on the fuel float of the Cub.
The older man looked up when he heard the sound of a radial engine.