“You’re up first,” Mike points at me. The room goes quiet as my fellow campmates watch intently from their seats on the floor. The large roof with a bubble-like top disappears as do Mike’s next words. My insides start to scream. They are spinning round and round, running into walls. My mind is a blur, traveling faster than a bullet.

I can’t believe I’m actually attempting this. I can do the regular swing from my hands and hang from my knees. But I don’t think I can do this. They want me to swing and grab onto someone else on a different swing! Are they out of their mind? Why me? I don’t think I’m ready for this. I’m going to fail!

I slowly rise, as do my nerves. I walk across the hot room over to the bucket by the epic ladder, and stick my hands in. I rub the white powdery chalk on my hands, but it doesn’t last long on my sweaty palms. As I pull them out, Abraham reminds me, “Put it on your wrists.” My last shred of confidence drips off my hands.

I think of when I first attempted to swing on the trapeze bar. I go through each step. First, I jump off on “hut.” Next, I pull my legs up, hook them on the swing, and let go with my hands. Then, I have to add in the grab. Wait… I feel like I’m missing something really important. I don’t remember!

Even more fear begins to leak through my body, making my hands shake and turning my mind into a deep, dark pool of fears and nightmares. I swim through my thoughts, choking on the images that crawl through my brain. I can vividly see myself falling and breaking my neck. I focus on the idea of being unable to get my legs over and completely failing.

I snap into the harness and begin to climb to my end.

My foot slips on the ladder. My mind jumps at the opportunity, making me even more nervous. What if I fall just going up the ladder? I would die of embarrassment! Or what if I trip on the platform and fall off into the net without even swinging? Scenario after scenario pops into my head.

I slowly stumble up the last few steps, clinging to the side of the 23-rung ladder. I wrap my hands around the top and pull myself onto the platform as the cables pull across my body, twisting me into uncomfortable positions. I grip the arched ladder so tightly that my hands begin to camouflage with the white paint.

“Come on around,” says Michelle. She gives me a reassuring smile as I shuffle around trying not to publicize one of my very common clumsy slips. She hooks on the new flying cable as I wrap my toes around the edge and try not to look down. But my eyes wander and the long painful drop is all I can think about, all I can see.

You can do this, I try to tell myself. Don’t worry! You’ll be fine! It doesn’t work.

I grip the rope on the platform with my left hand, and straighten my back like I do every time my mother walks in the room.

Michelle pulls in the swing and I grab it with my right hand. She holds onto my harness as I let go of the rope, snatch onto the bar with my left hand, and shuffle my hands back and forth. My heart pounds and all the sounds around me travel in one ear and out the other.

“Ready!” I bend my knees to get a good push off as Teresa, the worker on the other swing across the net, flips upside down and begins to swing faster. I’m panicking inside and I can’t breathe.

Michelle’s mouth forms around the word. The word that means it’s my time to shine. Or, it’s my time to fail. “HUT!”

Before I know what I’m doing, I push off the safe platform and fly through the air. All sounds are silenced by the whooshing of my body soaring and the wind whipping past my ears. The helper yells out instructions to me, but her voice just comes across as random sounds and gibberish. Somehow, my body instinctively knows what she’s saying.

I pull my legs up, feeling a tension in my stomach as I lift my legs to my chest. I almost flip all the way over but I am able to hook my legs around the bar. As I reach the peak of my swing I pull together all of my courage and let go of the bar with my sweaty hands. I arch my back, reaching for the hands I know are somewhere near me.

This is the moment that counts. I stretch my hands out in an L shape and reach out for the possibility of greatness. I see it flying towards me.

I feel something wrap around my bare wrists. It feels as good as a hug, warm and comforting. A smile spreads across my face faster than a rocket. My insides fill with bubbly happiness.

I finally come back to reality: I wrap my fingers around Teresa’s strong arms, and unhook my legs ungracefully. The bar swings back as I fly in the opposite direction.

“Let go,” yells a voice from below me. I let go of her arms and fall into the net. I stumble to my feet, after an awkward landing, and stagger over the net, to the side. I flip over the side clumsily, with the cables wrapping around my body uncomfortably. I am unhooked and I trip over to my seat.

As I think about my crazy experience, it’s hard to remember all the details of the actual flight. I was so focused, I didn’t even notice the reaction of the people around me. I wonder if it looked good. It seems like I flew in slow motion when I think back to the experience, but in reality it was over in seconds. Even now the joy of completing the actual trick still shines on my face.

AUTHOR
Alexandra Z.
9th Grade

Boston & Beyond
Polished Piece

Summer Ink will not be holding its summer program in 2024. We will update our site when the program is back. Thank you for your interest; please email info@summerink.org with any questions.
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