Saturday, March 04, 2006

Jump children, jump high enough and you might not come back.

When I hear or see the word suicide, I immediately think of trampolines. It is the first thing to enter my mind. It's been that way for as long as I can recall. I'm not really afraid of trampolines or anything, nor do I see them as dangerous (only to one's pride if a serious spill is taken). I just always see one when I hear that word.

I had this friend as a kid. His name was Tyler. Tyler's parents were wealthy and had the biggest, most glorified house in my neighborhood. A lot of the neighborhood kids didn't like Tyler at all, but would pretend to because he had this huge amazing trampoline next to the always-empty tennis court in the backyard. So Tyler was, after it was all said and done, quite terribly popular. He always had people over. I had a slight fancy on for Tyler. He was my age, but he always called me "kid" and "kiddo" which is something, to this day, I find charming in a man.

Tyler's family was catholic and Tyler had a lot of brothers and sisters. So many I couldn't even recall all of their names. I don't think Tyler was very close to his family. Even when 10 of the neighborhood kids were over bouncing and flying, giggling and squirming with delight, Tyler had this expression that never left his face, like he was a starving orphan.

Tyler's older brother killed himself when Tyler was 8. It was the first time I had ever heard of someone doing that. After that kids slowly stopped going over to Tyler's despite his array of fantastic toys. It was like the family was all infected and people were afraid that their children would be infected with the virus and might just make their last leap on that trampoline at Tyler's...

I was one of many who became too wary to go to Tyler's house. Afraid of the ghost on their backs. Afraid of what to say. So I stopped bouncing. When I would pass his house on my bike, I would look down, fearing that I might catch a glimpse of whatever pushed Tyler's brother off the roof.

The last time I saw Tyler's brother was on the trampoline. There were maybe 6 or 7 other kids on the trampoline with me. We were playing a game we called "making the piggy fly". I was the piggy and I was standing in the middle of the trampoline while the other kids jumped in unison, launching me so high that from time to time I was level with the tree house where Tyler's brother was sitting. He was smoking, as I recall, wearing a green military jacket and a turquoise sweatshirt with car decal looking graphics on it. He was watching me soar. And when I would hover, time slowed down and his brown eyes bored into me for the split seconds that I was up there.

1 comment:

Bill Adams said...

A very fine opening line. Excellent! Second paragraph is weak. Cut it? Last paragraph is strong. A nice piece overall. Thanks.