Learning to Fly
by Stephen Blake

Sunday evenings my Mum would push back the furniture, turn on the radio, and get me to dance to the chart countdown. I loved it, safely at home, away from judging eyes.

The school disco was held just down the road in an old church hall. The evening came and the music started. In my mind I pictured myself as John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, strutting out onto the dance floor, showing the world what I had.

Shyness is like an anchor. Inside, you want to show the world the outgoing you, the one who is ready for the limelight. Outside, you can’t move.

And then, a song comes on. I remember the TV series; I saw the film.

I pick out a lyric, You ain’t seen the best of me yet.

I can do this. I can weigh anchor.

My friends run to the sides of the room. We climb chairs and wait for the word.


I jump from the chair as high as I can. No one is looking, they are all just enjoying.

I hear that song and my anchor weighs a little less and I think…

I’m gonna learn how to fly (HIGH).

Stephen Blake Silver Birch Press photo

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It might not be the greatest song ever written but “Fame” (1980) reminds me of when I was able to shake off the shyness that dogged my childhood and every now and again rears its head in adulthood. In my late teens, I learned that a stiff drink for “dutch courage” worked, but before that I had this — a song where all my friends just jumped around like idiots, where you could just let go and enjoy yourself. The freedom I felt was amazing. I hear the song now and want to jump off the nearest chair. Mostly though, I remind myself to take a deep breath and go for it.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: You can only get pictures of me very young or now. In between I hid. Here I am at a school event promoting sports. [Olympic swimmer] Sharron Davies was visiting and I don’t look entirely comfortable about it. 🙂

Stephen Blake

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Blake lives in a small seaside Cornish town in the UK. He’s been previously published in the  anthologies Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion and Avast, Ye Airships! He’ll soon be featured in the anthologies Sins of the Future and Kaiju: Lords of the Earth. You can find him on twitter as @UncannyBlake and on Facebook as Stephen Blake – Author. He blogs at stephenblakeblog.wordpress.com. There you can follow his writing journey.