Monday, February 28, 2011

The Catch



I climbed thirty feet up that flimsy trapeze ladder a total of eight times.

Each time I arrived at the top, my nose barely clearing the edge of the tiny platform, I announced, "Hi, me again, and I'm still as freaked out as I was the first time....Just letting you know."

By my fourth flight I had managed to get my knees over the the trapeze bar, swinging hands-free into a mid-air somersault and landing in the safety net on my butt instead of my face.

On the ground, Rachel encouraged me. "Mel, your form is perfect. You look great up there. Your legs are straight and your toes are pointed. Isn't it exciting? Are you addicted?"

"You know, I'm going to find this really exciting in two days when I remember that I did it."

I didn't have the heart to tell her that as far as addictions go, I was pretty much in the grip of lip gloss and "Downton Abbey" on PBS.

Then I met Don, a fit-looking fellow with muscular arms and the stocky frame of a circus performer.

"Hi Mel, I'm the one who's going to catch you."

"What do you mean by that, Don?"

"You're going to stretch your arms forward, make a 'W' with your hands and I'm going to catch you when you release yourself from the bar. We'll fly as a twosome."

I laughed. This Don guy was cracking me up.

He put his hand on my shoulder. "You'll have the time of your life, I promise."

I changed the subject. "So, Don, how long have you been flying on the trapeze?"

"Since July."

I choked.

"July? As in six-months-ago July? That July?"

"Yup, I was instantly addicted. See ya up there. It'll be great!"

And off he trotted. I watched him scurry up a rope ladder, leap to a bar and swing back and forth. He waved to me down below and indicated that I should climb my own ladder to the top. Again.

Every time I climbed the ladder I mumbled to myself, "How can I possibly ask little kids to take center stage and act in front of their peers in highbrow Elizabethan English if I cannot face my own fears? How?" (step step step) "How?"

I chalked my hands, climbed, grabbed the bar, hopped off the platform, flew, wriggled my legs over the bar, dropped upside down, made a "W" with my hands, looked for Don's forearms, reached, released and was...caught. Together we flew across the night sky with midway lights flashing red, blue and yellow over my body.

FREEDOM.

At night's end, I crept through our front door, my trench coat hiding my white-chalked yoga clothes underneath.

"Hey," William called out.

"I need you to sit down," I said.

"Why, what's wrong?"

"I need you to sit because I have to tell you that I lied to you."

"What are you talking about?"

I guided William into an armchair.

"I knew perfectly well what kind of class I was going to tonight when I said I didn't."

"Really?" His face brightened. "Was it pole-dancing?"

"NO."

After my tale he said, "Mel, you did something on your bucket list. Good for you."

Later, in bed, the full moon shone its white rays through the window.

"It's lighting your face because you're an actress," William said.

I scrunched under the covers, "Nope, I'm a trapeze artist. I fly through the air with the greatest of ease."

"And you're going to be so sore tomorrow."


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
The theater is so cool it has so many seats and all the plays Shakespere did in it are as speshle as him his self. If I was a groundling I would not throw food at the acters because I am an acter and I would not like it at all! Insted of throwing roten frut at the acters I would cherr then on no mater how bad or good they are!
—Rebecca, 3rd grade

moon graphic from Grid Expectations

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