i’ve been thinking about why exactly i’m so attached to the story of icarus, the boy who’s been used again and again to teach us a lesson about hubris; the boy we were told as disobedient, as prideful, as reckless, as ignorant; the boy we’ve been warned to never follow, as if we did, we would end up burning our own wings and drowning in the sea along with him. i looked at the various texts and translations about his story, searching over and over for what it was that made me so drawn to it.
and then it hit me: icarus was told to not fly too high, nor to fly too low. he was told to remain in the middle, to follow his father’s path of flight—because daedalus knew of what it was like out there, of how cruel the world can be to dreamers, and he wanted his son to be wary of it. it reminded me of how parents are like nowadays (or, really, are like since the beginning of time): of how they say “dream big, but not too big”; of how they tell children to not get their hopes up too high; of how they remind their child to be realistic; of how they warn and they caution and they forcefully plant our feet on the ground and make sure our roots grow thick enough beneath it to hold us firmly down.
it’s understandable, if not twisted, the way they’re protecting us. because while it’s true, most of the time it leads to crushed dreams, dampened hopes, watered down ideas. it leads to the acceptance of things as it is, and not of things as they could be; it steals our idealism and turns it into doubt, into disbelief, into hopelessness.
maybe that’s why i’m very fond of icarus; because the thought of having this boy reach for the sky, for the sun, for the exhilaration of his freedom by going through such extreme lengths tells me a story of hope, not hubris. it tells me the story of a boy who was willing to risk everything for what he desperately wanted, it tells me the story of a boy who had the nerve to grasp at the liberation he craved, it tells me the story of a boy who loved so much he let himself be consumed by its violent, brutal wake.
and if icarus dared enough to chase after his dream, then let me burn along with him.
He had become accustomed to discreetly watching Scully very closely. For the past few months he had been on constant alert for any sign she might need a break or a kind word. His attempts at both had gotten him chewed out on more than one occasion, but still he watched as she suffered in stoic silence, refusing to let him in.
When there was nothing to look for anymore, he still watched. Because maybe it was a fluke, or maybe the doctors were wrong. Maybe the chip was only a temporary solution. If the worst case scenario happened and she came out of remission, he wanted to catch the warning signs right away. It would give him more time to do something.
She was unusually quiet that morning, which put him on high alert. Her mind drifted from the autopsy report she was transcribing and several times he caught her staring into space, fingers idle on her keyboard. She even let her coffee get cold next to her. He hadn’t seen her take but one or two sips.
“Everything okay?” Mulder asked in one of the silences.
“Why do you ask?” she returned, and her fingers began to tap on the keyboard again.
“You’re quiet today.”
She stopped and tilted her head. Her eyes focused on a fixed point somewhere on the wall. “I had a strange dream,” she finally said.
“I keep thinking about it.”
“What was it about?”
“I was flying.”
“Were you a bird?”
“No. I don’t think so. I think I was just myself.”
Mulder got up and casually strolled over to his bookshelves and took a paperback from the middle. “Where did you fly to?” he asked, thumbing backwards through the book from the middle and then stopped to flip pages.
“I didn’t have a destination. I was just flying. Around the city, over my apartment, over your apartment. The beach.”
“Low flying or high flying?”
“High, I guess. High enough to be above buildings and trees. But, compared to what?”
“That’s probably high enough to be considered high.” He sat down at his desk and bent the sides of the book back so that the spine cracked, but it rested flat on the surface. “Flying dreams represent control over a situation. You have risen above an obstacle and your ability to fly is a representation of power gained.”
“Hm.” She shifted in her seat and ran her fingers over her keyboard.
“Flight also represents freedom, hope, and unexplored possibilities,” he continued. “It can also be indicative of a strong will and a reminder that you have the ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to. Flying dreams seem to provide excellent motivation and renewal of self-confidence.”
She was quiet for a few moments and her thumb caressed the space bar on her keyboard. “Does it really say that?” she asked.
“Do you want to read it?” He pushed the book across his desk towards her and she shook her head. He pulled it back. “Were you ever afraid in your dream?”
“Okay, we can skip that part. Were the trees or buildings in your dream like obstacles?”
“No, they were just there.” “Sounds like a pretty cool dream.”
“You don’t really believe in dream analysis, do you?”
“I believe a dream is an answer to a question-”
“- that we haven’t yet learned how to ask. I remember.”
“The subconscious has a way of…processing information for us.”
“I need to get back to this autopsy report.”
She turned back to her computer and he looked down at the last paragraph that he didn’t read to her. Sometimes, dreams of flying occur when the dreamer has been under greater amounts of pressure than usual - pressure to perform at work, home, socially, financially, or emotionally. It is common to dream of flying as a way of working out resentment against these pressures and coping with the strong desire to be free from them.
Mulder closed the book and took it back to the bookshelf. He touched Scully’s shoulder lightly on his way back to his desk.
“It’s pizza day today,” he said. “In case you forgot.”