“This issue of circulation has been one of the early impediments to auto aviation,” he said. “Without healthy and significant blood flow to the extremities, we cannot even begin to spread our wings.” Deb did not care why her wings had failed her. She just wanted them to work.

“It is not enough,” said the professor, “just to believe, to tack on a pair of wings and expect to take off. Do people jump out of bed after years of lying around and run marathons? No. Do Olympic athletes sit on their couches waiting for their times to improve? No. You have to exercise the heart muscle, expand the lungs, train the body.” On the screen a video played that Deb had seen many times before. A man, silhouetted against a vibrant sky, spreading his AAs to fill the frame. It was footage from the commercials, an image she’d fixed on through the long months of recovery. Carl looked nothing like this man, obviously a trained athlete, an Olympian maybe. And yet, she was reminded of Carl. Disproportionate and balding though he was, Carl had spread for her like this, majestic and full, and his top-heavy carriage had seemed right somehow, appropriate. The man in the video wasn’t flying per se as much as he was gliding down a slope, and she thought of something Carl had said about wires and special effects. She shook the idea from her mind. This was just the kind of negative thinking Todd Rodgers had warned against. It did no good to pursue what-ifs. She had told Carl exactly that. They needed to suspend disbelief and trust in the Method.


This morning’s lecture was the first he’d missed since meeting Deb three nights ago. She’d been at the hotel bar, poring over her welcome folder, highlighting the events that seemed most interesting. She hadn’t even noticed when he’d sidled up beside her, hadn’t looked up until he ordered her a drink.