"Because she had no arms."

Once upon a time a girl was born with no arms.

Perhaps it was her handicap, perhaps her upbringing, but she refused to fail at anything. The mere thought of failure would make her angry. A perfectionist to a T she learned to read the first in her class, same with writing, though the other students teased her for having to write with her toes.

She was the best at soccer, and collected a small group of male friends she would hang out with and compete against, always determined to prove that she could be the best. They brought her one day to a swing they had built overlooking the edge of the cliff, and one by one climbed aboard and swung out wide, wide over the gulf below. They thought they had found something she could never do, but when her turn came she bravely, perhaps foolishly, climbed aboard. She did it. She could swing out just as far and as high as they, her balance was perfect and she could not fail. Higher and higher and higher until finally her friends, fearful for her, stopped her.

She loved the rush the swing gave her, and would often sneak out alone to use the swing, the gulf below her, it felt like she was flying. Faster and faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.

Years passed, she grew older without losing a spark of her fire. Straight As through high school, flawless as she worked through college, but then something fundamental changed. She fell in love.

He was reasonably smart, very handsome, but best of all gave her the kind of attention her other male friends never had, she'd always been 'one of the guys' to them, never 'girlfriend' material per se, so with just a little push she fell head over heels for him.

They dated on campus, taking long walks with his arm around her shoulder, nestling her up close. She was happy in a way that made competition pale. They could talk for hours, and when they finally made love he took her heart.

She wanted to be with him every day. Get married, have kids, she was deep in love, but he began to draw back. He called less, responded to messages less, held her less, and she couldn't understand it, at all. She fiercely held onto the relationship, calling him, trying to spend time with him, but to no avail.

She walked to his house, bookbag slung over her shoulder, intending to surprise him with a gift she had bought for him on ebay. She stopped dead in her tracks. They hadn't seen her. They were walking away from his house.

They were holding hands.

Something inside of her shattered. It felt like a lightbulb exploding.

Back on the swing, rusty after all these years, she pumped higher and higher. Her tears broke away and glistened in the sunlight. After all her accomplishments, after everything she'd done, she had nothing without love.

She leaned forward at the top of the arc, and flew.

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