It is a cold event, being born. Slowly my elements swim around each other and then finally condense into my tiny wet form. And there I stay, frozen in space for a few moments, as the cold air and pressure begins to mold me already. My extremities begin to form, sprouting out from my bulbous ends, and new extremities form from those, and so on. My shape is crafting itself; the sky is ushering in my utterly new existence. I am a snowflake in the air.
It is inevitable that I will fall. I am afraid of that. I have known no such thing in my momentary life, only the comfort of stagnancy, calm quietness. I'm okay here. My mother said that we all fall eventually. She said I have to. That my father and his father and his father, and so on, all fell. She said I have nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be ashamed of, that change is a part of life. I asked her what would happen after I fell. She said she did not know.
I like it here in the clouds. My sky is huge, but I can only see so far because it is crowded with others. They are all like me. I want to reach out to them, to ask them if they are afraid, but I do not; I hang still in the air. I love them, though, all of them. They are my friends.
One day I gather my courage and ask my friend Graup if he is afraid. He says no. I say why. He says he pretends falling is a race, and he cannot wait to get started right away right now right now. He says he will go as fast as he can, and he will love it. Okay, I say. He is not afraid.
I know about my fathers, and I know about gravity, but I begin to wonder how it would be like to stay in the air forever, to be different from the others. My mother said look at me, all my many extremities from my bulbous bodies. She said to be proud of them. That no one else in the whole sky would have extremities just like mine, not ever before and not ever after. She said I was totally unique, and that I shouldn't worry about being different from the others and so I shouldn't worry about falling. I asked her how she knew I was unique exactly. She said well she didn't know but it was pretty likely I was.
I am very proud of my uniqueness, anyway. I look around at others now, at all their extremities, to find out how I am different from them. I do not think it will make me any less afraid to fall.
I grow every day, and I have gotten big, as big as anyone in the sky, and I start to fall. It is a scary thing at first, but it is also a relieving thing at first, because you have waited so long for it. My god it is fast. The wind hurtles at me from below and pounds at my bulbous body, and it feels as though the air is trying to keep me afloat, but I know it is not—I am falling.
The fall is not too long. At least it is quick, and all my friends around me are falling too. As I get lower, my body begins to heat up. I have never known this earth heat before, and it is like the sky is on fire. My body begins to boil on the outside, and it is the worst pain in the entire sky, and I scream. It is not like my mother told me. I wonder if this is how it was for her, when she fell. My body contorts in excruciating agony, and the only thing I wish for more than death is to be in the clouds again covered with my friends. I look around; they are all in pain too. They are all screaming. It is horrible. Everyone is suffering. They can all feel it.
My body is mangled, different from before. My extremities have withered and disappeared in the heat, changed into hot liquid. My vision is blurry now, and I don't feel very much alive, but it is the same way with the others, I can see. Their extremities are all melted away, and they are only amorphous bulbous bodies now, and I am too. This heat has taken away my uniqueness even. I am just like the others, but it is not important to me now, not now.
It has been 30 minutes. I am ready for death. The earth is still distant but it feels so close now. I cannot think anymore, there is only me and the ground. My last elements begin to change at last, and as the heat begins to finally envelop me, I am filled with a sudden surge of unexplainable glee, a charge that moves through me and back out again. I can feel my bulbous body, every remaining part of me, melt away into water, just as my father and his father and his father, and so on. I know this was how it was for them. I think I knew it would be for me. In becoming water, I start to feel so close to them. I await my death in moments, and I do not know what will become of me, but for now I feel so connected.