by Diane Brady

Six thousand feet above the marshy flats of Fairbanks's Tanana River Valley, she raised the nose of the Tiger Moth higher and higher until they reached the top of the loop. As the biplane's engine sputtered and quit he stared at the dark bottoms of afternoon cumulus, gripped his shoulder harness, thought about the open cockpit and the parachute on his back, the plane gliding down the other side in a wide arc. She was so ecstatic she screamed as the engine restarted; they did it again and again. He was dizzy, watching the clouds and then the earth, listening to her joy and wondering why she was doing this to him; he suspected, though, that she was still angry after the night before when he said he didn't love her, didn't want to live with her or marry her. "Let's go flying one last time, tomorrow?" she had said. They did two barrel rolls and a split-S, and while she giggled into the intercom he closed his eyes, the only sounds he could hear were his own heartbeat - and the wind in the wires.


Diane Brady is a former Alaska journalist and a pilot of 29 years. This piece was adapted from a story she published in 1988 in Before the Sun. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.