Shells

Last season’s sharp pecan casings littered the lawn. I wished the wind would pick up a little. The air was superheated, and dry as a splintered post. Jules and I moved the trampoline into the shade. Wisteria vines draped the fence, smelling like clean laundry on a line. We clambered onto the cool mesh and surrendered our bodies to its embrace. Clouds drifted miles above, where wind did thrive. I closed my eyes, folded my arms behind my head, and listened as my neighbors entertained noisy lunch guests. A Sweetgum seed fell from the canopy above. I cracked a lid, wincing as it collided with my leg and bounced. It felt like a clear message.
One of the neighbors made a joke. I caught the clinking of glasses. Jules grew bored of almost napping and stood, dipping her knee toward the ground for a slight bounce. Its vibrations traveled and I rolled with the motion, rising. We fell into our jumping routine naturally. We had recently become used to one another. The coiled, rusted springs creaked with each relief of pressure. I could smell sausages grilling, or steaks; some staple of an Oklahoma meal.
I had been recently practicing the art of the nonchalant front flip, and my results had not been disappointing. With force, I could get some air. It wasn’t easy to balance our physical masses, since we were different heights and weights, but I could estimate alright. Our trouble was, we didn’t clearly communicate. As I flew up and down, chattering about flip dynamics, Jules’ eyes began to wander toward the alley. A truck rolled over the pothole-ridden asphalt, dragging a heavy cloud of dust behind it.
Just when I required her attention, her effort, her bounce- my sister was distracted. I had already committed to the decision, and was mid-jump. I had no choice but to tuck and roll, as I would for any spectacular flip. Air rushed by my ears and the world slowed. I realized a horrifying situation had unfolded; I was a projectile with no self-control. My eyes had closed again, out of fear instead of tranquility. The springs creaked loudly. As I landed, my wrist struck the bar, ringing out a high-pitched clang. It wasn’t enough, I flew farther. My face buried hard into grass and pecan trimmings. The scent of blood filled my nose, then the taste filled my mouth. Julie was calling out, checking to see if I still had my marbles. I gave a quick thumbs-up, head still ringing like a bell. The truck’s dust had infiltrated the yard, and it was somehow in my eyes. Every sensation was grit and pain.
She helped me into the house, holding back the ornery wooden door. The AC helped to condense my adrenaline. A glass of cold water was placed before me. My feet were lifted. I had assumed paralysis, as all us hypochondriacs do; and, in a way, I was paralyzed. An hour or two was my estimated recovery time (actually about three days), and Jules was unrelenting.
“Want to go jump?”

Prompt: #6, a thrilling or anguishing event from childhood.

Leave a Reply