Shouldn’t everyone who attends a high school class reunion, he thought, have something interesting to talk about? Don’t we all want to show off in some way? A great job making lots of money, a new, beautiful body, successful children at least, if nothing else?

Marvin Tsuchiya knew he had none of these. He did, however, have a dream scheme.

He’d wanted to demonstrate a unique talent he’d acquired when he attended the 50th reunion, but he’d still not mastered it. Now, with the 60th approaching, he was ready.

It was happening just now, he thought, after all his hard work. But, he mused with relief, just in time. One day, in the 13th year of his commitment, standing outside of Macy’s at the Diamond Head end of Ala Moana Shopping Center, he took a step with his usual intention and found that it landed near the ground, but not on it. His foot rested about an eighth of an inch from making actual contact with the pavement.

From the beginning, back when he’d tried to do it the first time 13 years ago, he believed that he could learn to walk from one end of the shopping center to the other without touching the ground. So he’d practiced with this focused intention, working hard at it day after day. And then . . .

This wouldn’t flying. No flapping of arms, nor did he intend to soar and do loop-d-loops and figure eights. No, all he desired was the ability to place one foot after the other and move forward or back without touching the ground.

And now he’d finally taken the first successful step. A moment later, however, after hovering in the air, his foot had come back to earth.

He tried again, and sure enough, his foot came to rest just above the concrete walkway. Looking around, he made sure no one was watching him. It was early, and almost no one was about.

His foot continued to hover above the ground. Very slowly, he lifted his back foot. His forward foot, his right, came thudding down. Again he took a tentative step, and again his foot hovered just above the ground. He lifted his back foot, and lo and behold, they were both off the ground at the same time.

Marvin got so excited that he lost focus and came thudding to the ground. But this was it, he’d done it. Finally, all his hard work over thirteen long years had paid off. He had mastered walking on air.

Chortling with glee, Marvin prepared his mind to try it one more time. Lifting his right foot, he stepped forward. His mind sent half his body’s energy to that foot. It rested above the walkway. Then, with rock-solid confidence, he sent the other half of his energy to his left foot, and sure enough, it again rose above the ground. Smiling gleefully, but forcing himself to maintain his focus, Marvin brought his left foot forward, but a pigeon fluttering to rest on the railing beside him broke his focus, and he fell to the ground.

Screaming at the pain shooting up his leg, Marvin lay squirming on the ground in agony. A husband and wife taking an early morning walk came rushing to him.

“Babe,” said the man, “call 911. Uncle,” he said to Marvin, using a common local word of address to your elders, “try not to move. It looks like you’ve broken your leg.”

“What!” exclaimed Marvin. “But my class reunion, it’s in two weeks. I can’t have a broken leg.”

The man gave him a bemused look. “Ah, well, okay Uncle, please don’t worry about that,” he said. “I’m a doctor, and I can assure you that even though you’ll need to do it with crutches or a walker, you’ll still be able to attend your reunion.”

Marvin lay back and closed his eyes. Crutches or a walker? Marvelous. Now he’d not be able to show his old classmates how he’d mastered walking on air. All he’d be able to demonstrate was that he was an old, clumsy man who had nothing about his life with which to impress them.

Wondering if he’d be alive to show them his air walking for the 70th reunion, Marvin groaned at the pain and lay there praying to live that long.

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