bouncebounce. bounce-bounce. bounce, bounce. bounce; bounce. bounce. bounce. bounce…bounce. bounce……bounce. bounce………bounce. bounce…………bounce.
Have you ever scared yourself on accident? Did you trip down your stairs or drop something and it made a big CRASHBANGSMASHBOOM sound? Did it take your breath away and make you say a bad word?
Have you ever scared yourself on purpose? Why? Were you bored or something?
When you’re scared or in love (…this is me thinking to myself…) When you’re scared or in love or shocked or aghast or surprised or agape and it takes your breath away, who takes your breath? Is that someone’s job? How do you apply for the job of taking people’s breath away? What kind of training is involved? Do you have to die to apply for the job? I hope not. I’d like that job. But I’d have to get health insurance. That’s non-negotiable.
What if there’s a land of stolen breaths? Do they have a problem with greenhouse gases or a hole in the o-zone layer? Are there plants and animals and people and buildings in the land of stolen breaths? What happens if someone falls in love or trips or turns a corner and screams and has their breath taken away? Where does their breath go? The island of stolen breaths from the people who live in the land of stolen breaths?
Sounds like it’s on the verge of micro-managing if you ask me.
CRASHHHHHHHHH…BOOOOOM….WOOM-WOOM-WOOM…BRAP. BRAP-BRAP. BRAPBRAPBRAPCRASHBOOMBRAPWOOMKAJUNGABOOMCRASH—
“Honey! Have you seen Teresa?” Ray bounded up the stairs, eyes scanning the banister for sight or sound of his little baby girl.
“I thought you had her.”
“No, honey. I was in the garage.”
Sarah dropped the still-dirty plate into the suds in the sink. “Teresa!”
“Teresa baby! Teresa!” Ray hit the second floor and sprinted toward the music room, for it sounded of stampedes and rumbling and tumbling.
“Have you found her?”
“I’m looking for her, Honey! I think she’s in the music room!”
“Teresa baby, is that you?”
Ray swung the door open and found his daughter, Teresa. He also found her banging and clanging and BOOM-BOOMING away on his ruby red drum set. Teresa had toppled the seventeen-inch fast crash and its stand. There was a floor tom on its side, and drumsticks strewn everywhere. Teresa held a pair in her hands, fingers barely able to wrap around and grip. Still, she swung and SMASHED and hammered and BASHED every surface within her reach.
Teresa couldn’t keep a beat to save her life and Ray couldn’t care less. By all quantifiable standards, Teresa was an awful drummer. By Ray’s standards, Teresa was Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, John Bonham, Vinnie Colaiuta, Keith Moon, Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Steve Gadd, and Neil Peart all rolled into one Tasmanian Angel. Teresa was fourteen months and her arms were a whirlwind. She giggled and OOOOHHHED and laughed and SQUEALED with every strike and swing. Ray smiled as time stood still to watch Teresa play the drums.
Teresa sat at his bedside. There was no machine in the room that BEEPED-BEEPED along with the beating of his heart. It was silent. Except for “Jeopardy.” Someone was answering a question about Madam Curie and whatever she did in whatever field she worked. She held his hand as he slept.
She noticed the wrinkles on his hands, the rings around the oak, each containing a tale about the man. She’d heard him tell his stories and heard him laugh and she’d heard other people tell his stories and laugh and love but all she wanted to hear at the very moment was his voice. She wanted to hear about what he was growing in his garden and what he had for dinner and what he thought about what the doctors said and she wanted to hear him argue with his wife and she wanted to hear him laugh. She wanted to see him wink one more time and let her know everything was going to be okay.
She wanted to ask him so many things and she wanted so many answers:
“If you could to travel back in time, would you?”
“What did you think when you saw her in her wedding dress?”
“What did you want to be when you grew up?”
“Did Jesus break your heart, too?”
“Were you ever surprised?”
“Are you afraid of what comes next?”
“What was your first kiss like?”
“Did you love your father?”
“What matters to you?”
“How do you define good?”
“What was the most beautiful sunrise you ever saw?”
“Do you know what it is to feel fear and trembling?”
“What’s it like to have children?”
“Are you proud of me?”
“Do you know how much I love you?”
She heard a noise. She turned and saw C.S. Lewis standing in the doorway. C.S. smiled at her grandfather. “He dying?” Teresa nodded. “What’s your name, child?” “My name’s Teresa Trampoline.” C.S. took a puff from his pipe. “That’s a beautiful name.”
Teresa smiled and wiped away her tears. “You can’t smoke in hospitals.”
C.S. paused, then laughed.
“Son, he said, ye cannot in your present state understand eternity: when Anodos looked through the door of the Timeless he brought no message back. But ye can get some likeness of it if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full-grown, become retrospective. Not only this valley but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only the twilight in that town, but all their life on Earth too, will then be seen by the damned to have been Hell. That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say, ‘Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences,’ little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled with only dreariness. And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say ‘We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven, and the Lost, ‘We were always in Hell.’ And both will speak truly.”
C.S. took another puff of his pipe. He glanced behind him. “Nurse is coming, she can’t see me smoking here.” Teresa wiped more tears from her eyes, and C.S. was gone.
She noticed his hand was cold. Teresa spun to face him, but he wasn’t there anymore. He was never there.
Teresa cried more tears than she ever thought she could cry and wasn’t able to breath for three solid minutes.