Taking the Fall

I call a friend who is on a business road-trip – it gets lonely out there, travelling from town to town, so I’m checking in. She’s at a restaurant finishing early dinner, and we chat.

Just before we say good-bye, my friend tells me that she fell yesterday and has grazes all over the place; she feels like a 6-year-old who’s fallen off her bike.

I ask whether it was one of those slow-motion falls that seem to go on for ages: you realise something’s gone wrong, you try to correct, but you’ve gone past the balance point – now you try to block your fall, but it only makes everything worse, and you think: “I’m already so close to the ground – how can I STILL be falling?!”

Landing is a relief. But it’s a very temporary relief, because now you have to get up and you feel stupid. The only upside is adrenalin, which surges spectacularly for a fall: I’ve managed to finally hit the ground and bounce back on my feet so fast that it seemed like nothing had happened to disturb the space-time continuum at all.

She laughs: yes, it was one of those. And, in keeping with a trend, she managed to trip this morning, spilling a full cup of coffee! I tell her to take care and we make a time to speak tomorrow.

But it has me thinking: I went through a spate of falling a few years ago. It should be understood that I’m fit, I’m not elderly, I don’t teeter along in spike-heels, I have good balance and am quick on my feet – so what was it? I’d be walking along a flat stretch of road; somehow I’d take a misstep and find myself hurtling slowly earthward.

Over a period of a year it happened more than 5 times, and seemed weird enough for me to ask my doctor to look me over. Nothing structurally wrong – then it stopped happening. I’d changed nothing, but the unbalanced weirdness of my life had changed. Maybe I’d been trying to throw myself out of my own life.

Before you write off my explanation, let me add this: fast-forward 5 years, another tsunami of events washes over me, and guess what? I start falling! I managed to fall three times in 2013 – luckily, early in the morning with no-one around, but dramatically enough to rip the knee of my jeans in one case. Then the wave washed back out, things stabilised and it hasn’t happened since.

It’s odd, it is what it is and there’s no answer. Only: the next time that this little boat called my life gets rocked, I’m going to walk very, very carefully.

models falling (models falling – from http://www.women24.com)


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