A gymnastics leap across the padded floor, pink and light blue leotard, the squeak of springs from the trampolines pulsing in the background. It smells like sweat and powder. Wide open cinderblock paradise, pink scrunchie pulled into dirty blonde ponytail, she confidently waltzes to the top of the balance beam. Could-be 1986 Olympic champion, she looks the part.
I tumble out of bed to face cheap carpet floor, startled by my abrupt transition into waking life. Saves The Day song on In Reverie. One of my absolute favorites.
But this past gymnast raises her arms, counts to herself in her head and takes two tentative steps before cartwheeling alone the balance beam. She cannot get enough, running over to the high bar and wringing herself out, rotating over and over like she is her own planet. She is a star. No one watches. No one notices, but she beams bright. If one would cast a glance, they would be absorbed by her beauty in motion. Handsprings on the blue mat, forward roll tumble, tucked chin, and launching forward. Intentional. Daylight dream ender – unintentional.
Unconditional. A song by The Bravery. One of my favorites. Tony Hawk Soundtrack. My youth; Was it wasted? Simple syrup clarity, sticky but worry-free. PSE&G. Who powers it all? Who can I call to complain? Is it even worth it?
An animator, an artist sketches in pencil of that gymnast tumbling, going through the motions one frame at a time. He is older and grey, absorbed in this task. The girl is faceless and silhouetted. I think I’ve seen her on a school handout advertising Tumbling. But I opted for soccer instead, even though I hated it. No one really talks about the art of fitting it and how it effects us our whole lives.
We all tumble through life, some with more enthusiasm than others. For some it’s more accidental. There’s no way we walk the balance beam without a misstep or mistake. Especially when our bodies are not built for that environment. It’s hard, it’s really tough.