He wasn’t particularly handsome, but his smell caught her attention: a musky odor that swirled around him when he ruffled. It reminded her inexplicably of the Feathering process, the pain and wonder of First Attachment. It was something primal, that smell — fresh skin, newly healed — and it brought back to her the hope she’d had in the beginning, the boundless faith that soon enough she’d be flying.

“Cheers,” he’d said, tipping back his drink. They’d been together ever since. 

On stage, Professor Golding addressed the audience directly and the screen changed to show a series of books and DVDs with Todd Rodgers’ picture on the cover. Deb felt the relief of recognition. She had bought the whole set the day before, as well as two of the complex corsets designed to redistribute her weight more aerodynamically. She was on the right track.

“When Todd Rodgers asked me to develop an exercise regime that would both strengthen the body and nourish the heart,” said the professor, “I brought all of my medical expertise to bear.” As he detailed the logistics of his plan, Deb allowed herself to relax, to take comfort in its familiarity. She was following the guidelines, taking the steps. It was like Todd Rodgers had said on the first day: “true success requires perseverance, dedication.” Now, while the professor finished, Deb concentrated on freeing herself from the anchors of self-doubt and began to feel once again the spiritual levity that would launch her into the next stage of Enlightenment.


The night before there’d been a party. “A little thing,” Carl had said, “in a friend’s room.” Deb wondered how he found time for friends. Since that first night, she’d only really spoken to him, sitting with him at the seminars, spending off-hours drinking Lift and talking about the Method, or their lives, or what it must be like to fly. They had yet to get physical, but it felt like the start of something real. Carl was proprietary, even a little jealous, acting annoyed if other men approached, and cutting her off when she went on too long about Todd Rodgers. Deb didn’t mind. In fact, she kind of liked it. It felt good to belong, to be owned.