I’d done it before. Climbed up and sat on that metal bar. I’d grasp either side with my hands and then throw myself forward. The idea was to end up swaying upside down by my knees, wind ruffling hair and fingers ruffling air.
The kid didn’t believe I could do this trick. I’d show him. So after school between bus runs (we had two buses, and each ran two routes), I climbed, sat, and fell forward.
I don’t remember the fall or the splat of my back against the ground. When I opened my eyes, I saw him standing over me.
“Wowww!” he said.
This is where you pretend it was all part of the act. Like when I dropped my baton, and it bounced back into my hand. You don’t want anyone to know you flubbed up. (I won that talent competition, though my mom always said it was a mistake and that I should have won the swimsuit portion.)
Somehow I stood and staggered down the sidewalk toward the front of the school while holding my stomach. I managed a barely audible chuckle.
I couldn’t breathe, and I needed to find a place to be alone, a place to recover. Maybe a place to die.
Dear God, don’t let me die.
Because that’s what going splat or landing flat feels like.
Having the air knocked out of you, falling and failing—that’s what it feels like.
Linking with Lisa Jo and community on the word prompt, fall.