Jumping

I’m trying to write a story with a plot–not an easy thing for me as I don’t see the world this way. I see life as a random spectacle of events. I know some people have (or think they have) control over their lives but I doubt this is true and I know I have none. For me, life is a matter of coping with each development as it comes up, seeing where it leads and making the necessary adjustments. Occasionally, I dig my heels in and take a different turn, but these turns never lead to what I’d imagined when I took them.

I’m not complaining.

In the meantime, my house is clean, the bed changed, the laundry done. This is what I do while I wait for a plot to reveal itself. (I need to write more stories for the sake of my house.) Outside, there are several police boats under the bridge and a helicopter circling. Do we have a jumper? I’ve scanned the bridge with my binoculars and don’t see anything. We never know until the next day’s papers. I read lately that recent jumpers prefer the George Washington bridge over our Brooklyn Bridge. It must be because of the work going on here and the shrouding they’ve done to hide it. A couple of years ago we had a jumper that, rather than jump from the middle into the water, chose to jump off our end onto concrete–during an outdoor art exhibit. Splat! (Performance art)

It’s really busy out there now. A second helicopter has arrived and there are sirens. Is the universe trying to tell me something about my plot? There are no bridges or tall buildings in my story.

Howie once did a bungee jump off a bridge in New Zealand. There were a lot of kids doing the jump and they were eating pizza and drinking beer. Howie didn’t eat until after…they wrote a number on Howie’s hand and we thought we’d be there all day waiting his turn but it turned out to be his weight and they took him right away. They calculated the jump exactly so that you could choose if you wanted your body dunked in the water, or just your head, or nothing. That’s control. I couldn’t control my shaking enough to watch from the bridge. It was too high and I have fear of heights. I had to watch from the bottom.

I used to be really good at jump rope. I could jump all day. Now when I do it I feel like my insides are going to come out. I’m beginning to feel that way about the story I’m working on…

ps: A bunch of my stories have been collected in a book (Meeting the Dog Girls, NonStop Press) which is coming out soon. Stay tuned…

Eileen Mullin

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