I saw the strap swinging out of the corner of my eye. I looked, was it really there? Was it really the suspension strap? Oh gods, please say yes. I rushed out to see them with the extension ladder, putting up the clamp and strap. He asked me to get the rest of the gear and I bounced all the way back to the tub and brought out the rest. We hooked up the ring and then decided to move it over a little more. He put it more centered and then added the paper airplane that goes with the rig always. I grabbed the ring and began spinning gleefully. He laughed and took the pulleys off my shoulder and I spun even more. Then I swung, my feet slipping on the floor, back and forth on the ring, from hands out of practice, and my smile grew even wider. He took a few swings himself, let the bouncers have a pull and then tied it off to wait. There would be Flying tonight.
I was bouncy and giddy as the club opened, pouncing all my friends with glee at the prospect of suspension later. They giggled and hugged me back, understanding my excitement. Things got going and the club started filling, and then he asked me to check on the hemp, make sure it was all in one tub, and then bring it out to our stage. I brought it out and we grinned at each other. It had been a long time, but there was no doubt, he was going to make me fly again.
I bounced, unable to contain my energy as he began to tie. He quizzed me here and there, and I was happy to note I had been imagining the tie correctly these past couple weeks in anticipation of this moment. When it was time to rig me to the ring, I lay on the mat, my feet still bouncing on the floor, grinning over at a few familiar faces in the crowd. Our photographer was snapping photos of the whole thing, but he seemed to catch me at moments when I was sinking into the rope, eyes closed and mind floating. I had to stop tapping my toes when he got to my ankles, my my fingers started tapping instead. Finally fully rigged it was time to go up.
He pulled me off the ground and my eyes flew open and I was in heaven. He got me hooked into the strap and with a couple quick adjustments we were ready. The slightly higher ring than usual actually helped get the rigging even and level. With the pulley tied out of the way, he grabbed my shoulders. Was I ready, oh I’d been ready all evening. We grinned at each other as he started to push, and then I was off, flying through the air, arms and legs spread wide, soaring high above everything.
It had been a long time since I’d been up, even longer since I’d been flying. But it all came back, the breathlessness, the glorious freedom, the total rush of it all. The energy was incredible, he was pushing me higher and higher, spinning and twirling me through the air. I can barely describe how good it felt, how grateful I felt, the energy flowing between us.
My stamina is not what it once was and I knew I wasn’t going to last much longer, but I asked to go for a spin. He happily obliged, twirling me faster and faster on the swivel. All the blood rushed to my head, harder that it had done in a very long time. But I wanted to go faster still. I forced my body to curl, and it actually made my head feel a little better, curled into my chest. Then I flattened out to try and slow, but it didn’t feel like it helped much at all. And then he was spinning me again, and I didn’t want it to stop. But when he went for a third round, I grabbed his arms and heard him laugh as I did stop myself.
He jumped back up, asking if I wanted another push, but I clung to him, getting my bearings and finally able to say I was done, my body would not forgive me if I pushed it any more that night. He quickly hooked the pulley up and had me down. I sank into the mats gasping for breath, not because I had forgotten to breathe, but because the energy was still raging through me and I was now on the ground in relative stillness. He quickly unrigged me from the ring and pulled me to my feet and I hugged him tight, so grateful, and needing to share the incredible energy he had given me. Finally able to take hold of the ring, he was able to untie me and pile up the ropes for me to take care of. When he was done, we hugged again, both relaxing down from the high of the scene, and still so very grateful.
He left me with the rope, to finish coming back to earth and take care of the hemp that had been holding my life by simple strands. I pulled it all to me, just feeling it in my hands for a few moments before sorting out the thinner lengths he’d used for my ankles. Starting with the big pieces, I ran them through my fingers, inspecting and feeling, enjoying the smell and the coarseness. Coiling and wrapping the rope and stacking it all together beside me, pausing occasionally to relax into myself.
I was nearly done, with just the little pieces left when one of the crowd could not stay away any longer. A girl came through the strapped off barrier and plopped down in front of me. She hadn’t seen the scene and wanted to know what I was doing, what the rope was for. So I explained the suspension and told her there were pictures in the back of other suspensions if she wanted to see what she missed. She picked up the rope I wasn’t working on and I motioned for her to put it down, barely not snatching it from her, I get more than a little protective of the rope, especially after a scene. She said she was just playing, coiled a little and then set it back down. When I picked it up to wrap it she told me her name and I told her mine and then she wandered off again. Finished cleaning up, I picked up all the coils and packed them away in the tub and then brought it back to our area to wait for the next scene.
I was buzzing with energy the rest of the night, eager to do my electric scenes, and very happy when he motioned me over be part of the second suspension as well. Remembering how her ties went made me very happy with myself. I grinned up at her as she flew, knowing she was feeling the same as I had earlier that night. There is nothing in this world like it.