Bounce

Bounce

Gravity has a lot to recommend it

Sarah had always felt rather earth-bound. She had a sense that the ground should be firm beneath her feet, and that her movements should be decisive. A step at a time, measured and predictable. Head up.

Somehow things changed, but she never knew how or why. The air took on a yielding quality: soft, malleable. If it had been a sound, it would be plangent. And then the ground started to alter too. It became softer and yet resilient, with more “give”. And finally her body changed too: the joints became more supple and yielding, and she could sway from one foot to the other, rather like a Sumo wrestler (albeit a very short one). Something was happening.

Something. Cautiously she bounced up and down a little and to her great surprise, she found that she soared three feet into the air. There had been a triple transformation: air, earth, flesh. Her world was now like an enormous trampoline. And it turned out that she was very good at bouncing.

This had great advantages. It meant that she could leap over people’s garden fences and enter their domestic space: it also meant that she could see through their bedroom windows, and she learned to hover a little, and watch them unawares. There were of course moral implications to her bouncing: she was, after all, intruding and stalking. She could see people’s intimate lives. She needed to be careful with that, although it did produce a certain frisson. She became a great traveller, bouncing over the M25 in two steps, and reaching Scotland in an hour, Paris in two, Morocco in four. She would not outstay her welcome anywhere.

Sarah realised that gradually, bit by bit, her emotions were becoming like a trampoline as well. She didn’t feel things as deeply as before. She could leap from rage to sympathy to indifference with lightning speed. This meant, of course, that her empathy (on which she had always prided herself) was seriously impeded. She didn’t want to be like this. Something had to be done. Bring some gravitas back into her life.

First of all, she bought new flooring for her house, floorboards which were laid on top of a concrete base. No bounce in that. Then she paved the garden. She put a permeable membrane down first, and soil on top of that, so that there was no soaring or leaping. Finally Sarah purchased some large bricks. She had small feet, so they were easy to fit. She found some large leather straps which she’d used for a suitcase. Once the bricks were on her feet, she couldn’t bounce at all.

Coming back to her old self wasn’t as nice as she’d expected. The daring, the risk, the elan was gone. It had been nice to be so resilient, so air-born. Like many before her, Sarah now realised that there was only one thing worse than not getting your heart’s desire. And that was getting it.