I fell down, last night. Coming down the stairs, into Ev’s backyard, it was dark, and the light was out, and I was thinking, as I scrabbled at the wall and wondered how many more steps were left, I was thinking, “Wouldn’t be funny if I just went flailing off and landed on my head?” As I thought that, I put my foot out into space, leaned my weight against nothing at all, and went tumbling down the remainder of the stairs, falling forever and ever in the dark and convinced, I remember in that endless, incredibly embarrassing moment, that I was about to break something, many somethings, that this was it, and I had finally succeeded in killing myself with my clumsiness and was leaving these people with a horrible mess.
I landed on my elbow and my knee, and I sort of rolled over on to my hip and kept my head down and I stayed curled up like that for a moment, trying to figure out how to get the air back into my lungs and wondering if I was brave enough to flex my wrist and stretch out my knee and see if anything had busted open and would send me to the emergency room because I am so smart and careful and very cautious and I would never wear very tall shoes and climb down a set of dark stairs after having a glass of wine because that is the intelligent thing to do.
It hurt, and it was embarrassing, and I am fine, if a little banged up,
with some glorious bruises forming along my shoulder and elbow and hip
and knee. I woke up sore as hell, and I’m still hurting. I woke up
feeling incredibly stupid, and I still feel incredibly stupid–because
that is exactly how to end a perfectly pleasant social evening, by
flinging yourself off someone’s back stoop and making them worried
you’re going to take them to court.
I am so tired of being so clumsy. E worries that I really am going to
end up hurting myself in horrible ways, and he is always cautioning
me–be careful, look where you’re going, please, for the love of god,
think before you do things, just think and please don’t break every
bone in your body–and so far I have managed to do that last thing; my
bones are generally intact, but with every impact, cut, scrape, fall,
bruise that blooms beautifully across the entire landscape of my ass, I
feel that much more ridiculous. I hurt myself, sometimes greviously, on
a regular basis. It is always very hilarious, the way I fall down–at
least, that’s what people tell me–but I am tired of being hilariously
injured. I don’t want to be Mr. Bean any more. I don’t want to pratfall, I don’t want to feel stupid anymore, I don’t want people to shake their heads at me and sigh at my clumsiness and carelessness, any more. I hate it.
The only problem with that is that I also don’t see why I have to think
and be careful and look where I’m going and not do stupid things like
think I can carry an entire, precarious armful of stemware down rickety
basement stairs while wearing slippery flip-flops. I should be able to
do all these things and not get hurt. Everyone else can do those things
and not end up in the hospital, having glass shards plucked from their
sprained pelvises, right? Please don’t disabuse me, because it is
important to have a dream.