J: Jump Cut

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

I think I was five, maybe five and a half, because it was summer time when we trooped to the circus to chortle at clowns and be brought to trepidation by the snarls of lions; in those days animals worked the ring, it seemed natural to us; and when the trapeze artists spun in the air time must have stopped.
If I was five years six months four days ten hours forty minutes and three seconds old, that’s how I stayed for the duration of the act. Not a clock ticked, not a heart dare beat.
Resplendent in spangled fringing, like birds made of jewellery, with make-up so huge we could see their red smiles, even miles and miles up in the domed tent roof, they jumped without fear so I loved them.
I dreamt of them. I woke up, I thought of them.
At home there was a swing in the concrete yard. Seagulls spread refective white wings above me in clear blue sky, the ground was sharp with hot afternoon shadows.
If I could work up enough velocity, I would also leap into flight.
In my mind, my spangled fringing flew through an immaculately executed forward flip, landing expertly on satin feet.

Reality was head first.
I was brave, having my stitches, the nurse gave me a lollipop. The shape of the blood splashes, perfect splats, were utterly fascinating, almost symmetrical. I didn’t know why my mother looked so pale, my blood was falling out, but I wasn’t afraid. I did not understand grown-ups at all. Delicious faux strawberry lollipop stained my mouth red.
I must have timed something wrong, that was the only set back, my head was neatly fixed. I cleaned my teeth that night, my face was left sticky from the lollipop. In the morning bits of pillow fluff were stuck to me. Like tiny feathers.
This time I hit the back of my head, and my blood stayed in. I discovered that concussion makes you feel giddy. Maybe I had not built up enough speed. Maybe I needed a costume.
The swing was moved to the garden, which had a hedge full of distracting wild cats and chatty yellow snapdragons.
If I need to be brave, though, jumping is a persistent metaphor. 

The would be aerialist, aged 35 and seven months, dressed for the halloween circus. 


You're never too old to dress up for Halloween...that's my motto!!
Suze said…
Magnificent post! Can't add to it with a comment. I loved this.
Stephanie V said…
Parents do eventually get wise. Jumping is how I think of getting into something challenging, too. I didn't ever try to fly, though. You're much braver than I.
Lisa Southard said…
I'm pleased with this post - it's a vivid memory but for some reason I have never written it down before- forgive the pun, but it jumped out! In my mind, often, I'm still five, maybe five and a half :-)
What's a few head bumps in the cause for flying? :)
Great post.
Teresa Cypher said…
And five-maybe five and a half is a wonderful place to be. I loved this post! I wonder if my daughter was thinking the same thing when she tried to do a jumping dismount from the playground swings at school. She was 8 years old, missed the landing, catching herself with her hands. And she broke both of her wrists. The Russians gave her a 2. ;-)
Okay, her mom gave her a hug and helped her adjust to casts on both arms.
Lisa Southard said…
Both wrists?!!! Sometimes gravity is so mean! She gets a straight belated ten from me for sheer vision, and well done Mom on the sympathy and practical assistance :-)
Lisa Southard said…
Thank you Lynda, and everyone :-)

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