thanks for jumping

So this is the scene.  I'm being strapped into this harness thing and there is this teenage boy doing the strapping, and he's looking a little distracted, because, because for one thing I am a little taller than the last person he strapped into this.  I am also a little heavier, but not altogether too much heavier, because children eat a lot more these days in this part of the world, but that brings up the other because, and this is because I am not a kid.  My daughter is on the other side of the room, being strapped into a harness by another teenage boy, and we are about to go flying into the air.  I tell myself that I am doing this for her, so that we could be seeing each other jumping, and although that's nice, certainly nice, I know that I would be doing this anyway, because I cannot resist.

This isn't the first time I've been strapped in to something with my daughter recently.  It was less than a month ago when we were flying across a lot of space on these harnesses that are meant to keep you from falling to the ground because that's what gravity would like to do to you.  This time we're not flying across, though, we're jumping up and down, except jumping very high, as if we were out of reach of the usual laws of physics.  But just like last time, it's something that makes me very happy, as if this were something that I were missing.  On some days, it does feel like flying, but there's not enough real flight in it.  And on some days, there is this wish that I could be escaping from things.

They're not the usual things.  It's not because I need to claw my way out of a circumstance that's unbearable because of the distance that happens between lovers, and it's not because I am growing bored with doing the same things every day.  In truth, my days are all very different, and I am rarely wishing that I could be something else than in this body.  But there are so many things that I would like to change, just a small amount.

Like, the way we can't jump twenty feet in the air when we try.  Like, we can't cross through the rules of geography and time, and visit the ones that we miss the most, and bring back a souvenir from the journey (like a hotel napkin, or a flag from their country, or their smell on the inside of a shirt collar).  Like, we are not entirely immune to this decay thing that happens to everyone, it seems, and for some it moves faster than for others. 

I don't think this is where I see my daughter yet, entering into that river of time where the body decays, but it must be true in some small way.  Very recently I realized that I stopped thinking of her as a likely subject for a sequestration, where spies from the government come to take innocent children into their custody and try to barter for abstract concepts.  She is tall, tall enough to be visible from distances, and loud, loud enough to scream someone's ear to that point where it starts to ring a little bit, and wise, wise enough to know that there are always people around to help if things get uncomfortable.  So even though she is out of that, she must be into that phase that ends in something like adulthood, and there's a decay that comes with every stage, and more decay at the end, but this is still close to the beginning of the chapters that will make up the stories that make her life. 

There's an uneasy feeling I get, though, when she is flying in the air, and I see something on her face that looks like the same relief I feel, so it must be true, then, that sometimes she gets a little bit tired of all of this, in the same way we all do, but I didn't notice it on her before, so she must be changing.  I must be changing somehow too. 

I haven't wanted to freeze anything lately, not the way I used to.  Making this moment last or linger, they're just happening, and I'm participating, and there are things that I can do and things that I cannot do, and the days are rolling into each other like wolves fighting.  I see signs of things getting worse for some people I love, and some of the things I had hopes for, and I see things getting better for other things, and other people, and I would like to say that I'm just letting things happen, but it feels more like I am participating in the world while riding a motorcycle that is taking turns a little too fast.  My teeth are tight and my stomach is stretched back against the bones in my back, and the air tastes like metal, smoke, and blood.  Despite that, watching her jumping into the air is something like a perfect beautiful moment, and something about these moments with her are entirely perfect, and something about that tells me that I can pay attention to the blood in my veins and the wind in my lungs, because there are people aware of my movements, people who depend on what I do, and how I react to things.  And this moment is more important than any other, because this is the place where the dead speak to the living, and when we speak back, it starts to sound like those particular kinds of songs that can stop time.  Tonight, it's the perfect time for the living to stay on their side of the grass and the dead to occupy theirs, and wish that no one enters into the others' realm before it's time, and I'm holding my breath, because time rolls forward, and time comes to visit like gravity or death or the kind of friend who can hold you in the middle of the air with just a thought.  For just long enough to take a few deeper breaths, and let the magic that will be necessary sooner than later start to gather force between the heart and the rib, poised on the edge between falling and weightlessness.

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