May 1997


by David Appell

You're not ready, they said. You aren't properly prepared. Without the right education and some experience, you're making a big mistake.

I had learned what I could. The rest I thought I could figure out on my own.

I went ahead and bought it.


It will never fly, they said. It hasn't been off the ground in years. Just look at it. You're only inviting disaster.

It was old, and leaked a little oil. It needed a paint job. Not the way I had envisioned it... but it would do.

I pulled it out of the hangar.


The runway's not long enough, they said. You'll never get it up in time. You'll both be left scattered across the countryside... we'll be lucky just to find the pieces.

I gunned it for all it was worth. I asked for more than I could have expected. I heard the treetops scraping across the fuselage.

I set my bearings and watched the world begin to fall away.


The air is too thin, they radioed. You'll run out of fuel and drop like a stone. Turn back, or there'll be nothing left but a charred spot and some memories.

I concentrated and pushed ahead. Faith supplied what confidence could not. We began to move faster.

One by one, I saw the stars begin to appear.


He'll never make it back alive, they sighed.


I don't think they're ever going to understand.


David lives in Winooski, Vermont. His work has appeared in Sycamore Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, and several online magazines. "Reaching" originally appeared in the Spring 1994 issue of Hawaii Review.