SOC: Falling

Cupping my hands around my eyes, I tried to see my sister, cousin, uncle, and aunt nearly two hundred feet above me. Even with my shoes planted on the ground, I felt my stomach clinch as though I too dangled above the ground waiting for the free fall. It happened in less than ten seconds. Someone over a speaker began a count down, but before she could reach eight, a mechanism released and the passengers plummeted down. There were screams and whoops of joy, a piston hiss of wind, then it stopped. Everyone disembarked.

It was the first summer acrophobia was open at Six Flags, the first summer I wasn’t too short to ride the rollercoasters. But I didn’t. I kept my feet on the ground.

I don’t know when I began to fear heights.

My earliest memory is climbing from a second floor balcony onto a stairwell, and down to the ground floor. I pushed the little tyke slide to the railing and kicked my legs over. There was a playground with sand and a sea-saw around the corner from our apartment building. When I got there, I sat on the sea-saw pushing myself from the earth, trying to will my four-year-old legs to have the power to defy gravity before falling back down.

Falling in dreams is interpreted as a fear of losing control or a sense of powerlessness.

I dream of trying to fly like my four-year-old self, always pushing away from the earth I know I am destined to fall back down to. Dreaming of flight is about escape, but my pragmatic mind, even in dream, knows it is time to keep my feet on the ground.

9/11 lingers in my mind when I am too far above street level, looking down on a world made miniature by distance. I remember the falling man, his body posed like Superman,his pinstriped pants, his unknowable face. That image is an accident, the unlikely alignment of his body and the infinitesimal click of a camera shutter. In reality when he fell, he could not control what was happening. He only had the choice to jump.

Part of my fear of heights is the sense that what lies below my feet isn’t solid enough. It is not enough to not look down. I have to convince my brain that what I’m stepping on can hold my weight.

I wrote a haiku about my fear of climbing Amicalola Falls on a 4×6 index card. Somewhere in a box dusted with spider webs, it’s bookmarking my favorite spot.

A fear of heights is just as much a fear of falling, just as much a fear of losing control.

I hate Fifty Shades of Grey. For its bad writing and showing a white man abusing a woman with zero consequences.

I took twenty minutes looking for a soy wax candle in Tokyo Valentino at midnight. I tried to explain sensation play. Carefully controlling stimuli. Warm wax. Cold ice. Testing the sensitivity of skin. Lesser known erogenous zones. But Christian Grey and his stupid red room ruined the conversation.

I told him he was unromantic and emotionally cold. He told me I had trust issues.

Taurean women are said to be the most deeply devoted and loving, but easily prone to jealousy and sensitive.

When jumping rope, the girls would rock back and forth, waiting for the right moment for the rope to arch overhead before jumping in. It took me awhile to accept that sometimes, you will get hit by the rope, and that’s ok.

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SOC: Time


Sometimes, I sleep with a watch under my pillow. The mechanical tick becomes the metronome of my pulse. My heart pumps in tune to each second. My breathing evens. 

I dream in plots. Exposition. Rising action. Climax. Falling action. The denouement is always interrupted by sunrise, by my phone buzzing a six a.m. alarm. 

He told me, maybe you have too much time on your hands. My pulse tapped a staccato. My vision sharpened. My fingernails dug grooves into my palms. I don’t have time for you, I wanted to say. Instead, it was goodnight. Instead, it was, I’ll talk to you in the morning. 

A psychic traced my lifeline with a ruby red fingernail. “Your previous life was cut short, but this one,”she tapped the edge of my palm, ” this one will be long.”  

I can count on one hand the number of times I have followed the sunrise, watched the sky light up through mascara crusted eyes, tasted tequila, lipstick, and spearmint gum on my dry, cracked lips. This is beautiful, I thought. I’ll wake up earlier, I promised.  

1,567 steps from my bedroom to the stop sign before crossing Joseph Lowery. Before the hill that makes my lungs scream. I ran with a small backpack and wraps over bruised knuckles. You can’t hit the heavy bag with just yoga gloves. 
23 seconds precede my phone call going to voicemail. I turn it off and tell time by the length of shadows outside my window. When the sun hits below the half-drawn shades, it’s five p.m. I turn the phone back on. Nothing has changed. 
“You will have one love in your life,” the psychic told me. She cupped my warm brown hands in her cold white ones. Her booth smelled like meat lovers pizza and Diet Pepsi. She let go. Rose quartz dropped from my fingers.  
“Quartz is the second most abundant mineral. Crystal shops are a ripoff.” The geology professor nodded to the girl in the front row wearing an earth bound tee-shirt. I thumbed my crescent moon necklace. Scratched the teardrop moonstone with my fingernail. 
In the corner of an old composition notebook, “Crying is a waste of time. DANCE.” 
I danced holes in shoes before, pirouetting on concrete. I dance blisters on the balls of feet, thundering my heart with exertion.  

I say the bad words in songs my mom use to soap my mouth for. I scream “fuck you” to my carpeted floor when I hear my neighbor’s radio up too loud. I dance on her head. I play my music too loud. Someone stomps overhead. We all dance our anger.