The Gravity Is In My Head

5 May

There’s a place you can go in the winter, when it’s too cold to go outside or when you hit a spring storm, full of underground tunnels and above ground glass walkways. The gravity there is different and if your timing is right, you can find younger-selves of celebrities drinking beer. Footloose and Quicksilver Kevin Bacon.

I was riding my bike uphill to the north. A spring breeze tangling my hair and the sun baking my face, when, in a turn of events, I hit a snow storm. Biking uphill in the snow. These things happen. Sometimes it’s better to choose south.

When I hit the storm I turned my bike handlebars sharp to the right and, at that moment, found an entry point. It’s not hard to find a way in, you just have to know it’s where you want to go. I leaned my bike against a dark inside wall and started walking. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I didn’t not know. I was just going, following the path toward the lights and the people noise. Around the first corner was where I found them.

Younger Kevin and some other younger self famous guy who I knew I should recognize, but didn’t. They were drinking beers and talking. Younger Kevin winked and smiled and I felt my face turn hot. I kept walking. I walked down the dark path, alone and quiet breathing in the musky air that dwells in tight cave-like places. I walked without expectation but I knew something would happen as the noise grew louder and the lights brighter. Around the next corner I found what I would not have anticipated, but what I knew would be something different.

A huge glass ceiling and under it was the biggest bar I’ve ever seen. It looked like a mall but it was all people drinking, tables in the middle, the edges lined with bars. A mall, an airport, a fishbowl. Overwhelmed. I scanned the place right to left, left to right, right to left again, and up and down, then turned on my heals and walked back down the narrow path toward younger Kevin. Down the quiet path that wrapped my body and made me breathe harder. I tried to walk past them without looking so they wouldn’t think I was noticing them. They noticed me trying not to be noticed. Kevin didn’t say anything out loud, but I heard him in my head telling me to turn around. I turned. He wasn’t looking. So I started walking back to the mall-bar and in a moment of confidence I said out loud, I’m just going to get a beer, and younger Kevin said, yeah do it. I took that to mean, get a beer and come join us. So that became my plan.

Back at the mall-bar. Everything open, people everywhere, no one familiar but the overwhelm starting wane. I walked toward one bar and ordered an IPA that never came. I stood. I waited. I small-talked with the others in line. Time felt slow like I had been waiting forever and I started to panic that younger Kevin would be gone by the time I got my beer. I looked up at the glass ceiling, snow falling toward me and sun shining, reflecting the snow, wondering how it can snow and be sunny at the same time. I kept looking up even though my eyes hurt from the brightness. I took a deep breath. As I exhaled, something left my body. Something I didn’t need or want. What I felt in my body was, fuck the beer, fuck younger Kevin, fuck trying to get anywhere or be anything. I took another deep breath and with that breath, my body floated up off the ground for a moment. My feet landed without a sound and I took another deep breath and jumped. The breath lifted me higher and I floated in the air longer. I kept jumping, leaping, and breathing and I became like a helium balloon, weightless but in control, jumping when I wanted to be lifted up, hovering above the ground, stretching my legs into split leaps. People around me smiling and clapping and shouting, do it again! and, look at the air dancer! I jumped higher each time, hovered longer, stretched my legs farther, until my feet no longer came back down.

My body lifted up to the ceiling and I pressed my palms against it’s cool glass. One more breath. Another breath. Another and the weight of my hand pushed open the glass panel. I smelled the cold air sharp through my nostrils. I felt the sun hot on my face again. My body grew toward the hot cold sun snow and swam into the sky.

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